Exploring and assessing trade-offs, synergies and diversity for smallholder agriculture

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


To ensure their livelihoods within resource constrained settings, diverse smallholder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia encounter multiple competing objectives. These are economic, productive, nutritional and environmental objectives. Due to constraints of land scarcity, sustainable intensification techniques and technologies are promoted as a necessity to achieve these objectives in the future for these farmers. With diverse farms and farmers and diverse solutions available, this study assessed this diversity. I present a framework for the creation of hypothesis-based typologies, and demonstrate how different legume integration interventions match different types of farmers in the Eastern Province of Zambia. For modelled farms in Kenya and Vietnam, the potential of nutrition sensitive interventions such as traditional leafy green vegetables to improve nutritional, economic and environmental performance is explored within modelled solution spaces. Finally, Q Methodology is used to discern farmer perceptions about sustainable intensification and their desired trajectories of intensification, for a sample of Malawian farmers. These perceptions were linked to a set of hypothesized intensification trajectories. I conclude that using the output from whole-farm modelling, combined with assessment of farmers’ types and perceptions, integrated into a participatory learning cycle, can improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Schulte, Rogier, Promotor
  • Tittonell, P.A., Co-promotor
  • Groot, Jeroen, Co-promotor
Award date27 Oct 2020
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463955195
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020


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