The current World Summit on Food Security , as noted in an earlier blog, is a major effort to focus agriculture to lower risks of starvation and economic insecurity. But how can researchers and planners work out what is needed where? John Dixon of ACIAR and his co-authors describe a major Food and Agriculture Organization – World Bank initiative to classify world farming systems to enhance food security and help reduced poverty in a new paper.


Writing in CABI Reviews, Dixon says that the framework characterizes farming systems in terms of land quality and market access.  These elements are crucial in shaping development of farming systems and household livelihood strategies in ways that boost farm income and ensure delivery of cereals that are central to food security.

In their review, Dixon and his co-authors look at the various strategies for reducing poverty and conclude that farm intensification and diversification look to be the most promising ways of achieving that in many cereal farming systems. They say that the importance of intensification and diversification in differing farming systems can be used as a basis for priority setting and targeting of agricultural research to enhance food security and reduce poverty.

In other words, classification can be a key tool in deciding which farming practices are most likely to help the poorest and reduce their exposure to economic and climatic change.


The review, “Forty years of farming systems classification for enhanced food security and poverty reduction” by John Dixon, Jon Hellin, Xiaoyun Li and Glenn Hyman appears in CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 2009 4, No. 060.


Also published this month: “Challenges to ensuring food security through wheat” by R. Chand:  CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2009, 4, No. 065.


For other recent reviews focused on food security, see the blog entry

Food Price Hikes – Crisis and Opportunity?


For other recent blogs on food security, click here


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