What We Do

Research projects | Learning Alliances

Agricultural production must increase to help meet the challenge of food security for a growing population – but in ways which ensure environmental sustainability and social equity. SAIRLA’s purpose is to generate new evidence and decision-making tools  that lead to the design and implementation of policies and investments that enable women, youth and poorer smallholder farmers to engage in and benefit from sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI). The programme is funding eight research projects and facilitating social learning in five countries –  Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

The cross-cutting nature of the research and social learning allows SAIRLA to compare and contrast the evidence, highlight potential synergies and identify SAI design tools that can be adapted from country to country.

Research projects

SAIRLA has commissioned eight multi-country research projects to explore the following themes:

Equity: Identifying the mechanisms that could provide smallholders with better access to resources and information on SAI;

Trade-offs: Understanding the policy frameworks and implementation tools needed to address and reduce trade-offs between increased production and environment impact, what the risks are for smallholders and how they manage them;

Access to services: Strengthening the quality of agricultural extension services and improving the availability and use of market, technical and other information by resource-poor farmers.

Please note that some projects fall under more than one theme.

Learning Alliances

To facilitate social learning around the emerging research evidence and tools, SAIRLA has established a network of National Learning Alliances (NLAs). Each NLA is coordinated by a facilitation team and comprises different stakeholders in the national agricultural system, bringing their diverse experience and values to bear with the aim to inform decision making processes that will develop equitable SAI. The social learning process enables members to appreciate and discuss different perspectives, assess scenarios and options for SAI, help foster more inclusive decision-making, and strengthen their capacity and their commitment to act.

The International Learning Alliance (ILA) is a cross-institutional community of practice whose role it is to develop a strategy for influence in policy and for building institutional capacity to share the lessons from the programme at the global level. It comprises members of the NLAs, policymakers, donors, researchers, investors, the private sector and others interested in SAI.