Agronomic Solutions for Smallholders
The Agronomic Solutions for Smallholders Community is an ASA Community within the Global Agronomy Section.
Smallholder farmers develop, over long years of intergenerational experience, knowledge about their farming systems and about the soils, germplasm and climate in their native land. However problems may arise as population growth or migrations change the relationship of people to land, soils become degraded, new crops and cultivars are introduced, new fertilizers and tools become available, economic aspirations modernize and climatic patterns change. In the face of such rapid development in a changing world, traditional developing country research and extension services are stretched thin and often struggle simply to disseminate standard recommendations that may not be optimized for a particular situation. For integrated development to succeed, on-the-ground troubleshooters that see the villages through a science lens are needed to identify and then help overcome limitations in agricultural production and related areas. Using modern portable instruments combined with field interviews and observation of plants and soils,scientists can help identify problems and local solutions that enhance the agro-ecosystem and farmer welfare, as well as make mid-course changes in field investigations. Part science, part art, field diagnosis and problem solving is rarely taught but widely needed.
Recent Activities and Opportunities
In November 2016, the Community hosted a symposium at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix (AZ), where over 55 participants attended research presentations and discussion that focused on Technologies for Resilience to Climate Change and Information Technologies for Small Stakeholders.
The Community is currently seeking input from its Members to plan a Special Session for the 2017 Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida on the topic of Soil Organic Matter Management Alternatives for Smallholders. To participate in the online survey or join Community activities, please sign up as a member or reach out to the Community Leaders.
The plans for this community include:
- Communicating via listserv and establishing Community discussions.
- Symposium on Soil Organic Matter Management Alternatives
- Exploring possible "field guide" publications
The Global Agronomy COI "Agronomic Solutions for Smallholders" (formerly Field Diagnosis for Smallholder Farmers) has held successful sessions at the ASA annual meetings since 2011.