Agroecology at Cirad
In response to the challenges posed by the adaptation of production systems in the South to the changes they are undergoing, the CIRAD and its partners are mobilizing the regulations and natural processes on which agroecological principles are based to test and implement new ways of production. They support the local actors and social movements that are carrying out these agro-ecological transitions in order to act on the socioeconomic-institutional conditions and promote the scaling up of these practices for most rural populations.
For many years, the CIRAD and its partners have been conducting research and full-scale trials to document and objectify the capacity of agro-ecology to represent a technically, economically and socially viable alternative to conventional intensification models.
Undeniable progress has been made on the identification of efficient agroecological processes and techniques, experiences have been accumulated in a wide variety of biophysical contexts, in the French overseas departments and regions or in Southern countries. In the same way, a more systematic analysis of the brakes and levers of agro-ecological transitions in the diversity of these contexts allows to better target the action of local actors to effectively influence the conditions of change. The goal nowadays is to draw from the multiplicity of experiences, generic lessons to offer more efficient and adapted technical options, as well as a global approach based on support mechanisms, which are defined according to the specific challenges of different types of agriculture.
Among the specific challenges for research is the effective mobilization in these approaches of knowledge of different kinds, whether local or exogenous, lay or scientific. Or we can also cite the fact of mobilizing and articulating the knowledge generated at the scale of the exploitation, with that generated at the scale of the territory and the sectors.
A network of research and many actors
To meet these challenges, the Boost-AE partners network obviously involves research institutions working on agro-ecological transitions in the South (CIRAD, IRD, INRAE, European universities, research institutions in the South...) whose goal is to produce operational knowledge, but also a large number of partners involved in development who also believe in the added value of sharing experiences, systematizing knowledge and making it available to the greatest number of people. There are thus many NGOs, consulting firms, technical institutes, international institutions or public and private actors, all of whom are active in favor of AET in these contexts. Collaboration in the field between these different types of institutions gives birth to a common vision and the co-construction of useful knowledge to support AET in tropical conditions and countries of the South.