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Tropentag 2022, September 14 - 16, Prague, Germany

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Scaling agroecological packages for soil and water conservation in mixed crop livestock systems in Tunisia

Udo Ruediger1, Aymen Frija1, Veronique Alary2, Zied Idoudi1, Oussama Jebali1, Mourad Rekik1, Hatem Cheikh3, Anis Zaim4

1International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), RASP, Tunisia
2ICARDA / CIRAD, Tunisia
3National Inst. of Agricultural Research of Tunisia (INRAT), Tunisia
4Office de l'Elevage et des P√Ęturages (OEP), Tunisia


Soil degradation is a complex process driven by many unfavourable technical, socioeconomic, and institutional factors. Inversing the soil degradation dynamics requires an integrated approach where a set of soil-friendly, social and organisational actions within the agroecological approach are needed for system transformation. Within the GIZ ProSol project in Tunisia, ICARDA’s SWC@Scale project is now piloting integrated interventions in a degraded area of Siliana governorate, Northwest Tunisia, to further enhance the sustainable adoption of a set of agroecological soil and water conservation practices in mixed crop-livestock systems.
ICARDA and its National Research and Development partners are implementing a full agroecological sociotechnical package with farm and landscape interventions with forage-based crop rotations, improved grazing practices, mechanical and green consolidation of degraded land, cultivation of Sulla and Cactus opuntia in marginal lands, small-scale mechanisation, capacity development, awareness raising on soil regeneration and support of community organisations. The interventions in the selected community aim to generate system transformation dynamics and re-locate the local marginal systems on a sustainable intensification pathway. The SWC@Scale project further aims to learn from this open living lab experience and track social changes and adoption behaviour of farmers in response to the agroecological socio-technical package’s implementation of the “integrated system transformation” actions. Lessons learned are shared with the PROSOL programme leadership in Tunisia for scaling. For that, the project has developed an adapted version of the scaling scan tool which explores the scope for large dissemination of agroecological practices implemented in the study area.
The tool led to identify the opportunities and constraints related to the scaling of the technological packages. Notably, the crucial ingredients revealed by the tool are the level of knowledge of farmers and extension agents, the actors’ collaborations (platforms), the governmental support (subsidies), and involvement and ownership by the public and private sector. The use of the scaling scan tools allowed us to elaborate a scaling roadmap showing the major activities needed to go at scale with the socio-technical packages, that can be shared with the national partners including the policy makers.

Keywords: Agroecology, scaling, soil and water conservation, system transformation, Tunisia

Contact Address: Udo Rudiger, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Ariana, Tunis, Tunisia, e-mail: u.rudiger@cgiar.org

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