The report identifies agrobiodiversity’s potential for food security, smallholder livelihoods, and the environment in the face of global change. Using a theoretical framework based on resilience thinking, it analyses the potential role of knowledge and knowledge flows in change processes. Data collected through literature study and consultations with key actors is used to identify where constraints on knowledge or knowledge flows can form barriers and where strengthened knowledge can contribute to positive change through releasing the potential of agrobiodiversity for resilient farming systems. The study revealed a broad range of successful cases showing how agricultural biodiversity – through the actions and management of smallholder farmers and their organisations – has contributed to strengthened livelihoods as well as to more resilient ecosystems. Sample cases are presented in this report.
The report further identifies several knowledge-related constraints to releasing agrobiodiversity’s potential to strengthen smallholder livelihoods and their environments. We have synthesised these into three main constraints:
- Lack of understanding of factors driving change and transformation in agricultural systems.
- Inadequate recovery, adaptation, transfer, and internalisation of knowledge relevant to smallholder livelihoods.
- Lack of analysis of external barriers to transformation and ways to infl uence them.
Finally, the report suggests five niches and opportunities for a Knowledge Programme on agricultural biodiversity and smallholder livelihoods:
- Analysing transformation processes to increase understanding of barriers to and opportunities for the adoption and scaling up of practices and means to achieve a complete transformation of agricultural systems or landscapes.
- Facilitating analysis, experimentation, and innovation in social-ecological systems research.
- Enhancing exchange between traditional, practitioners’, and scientific knowledge systems.
- Supporting local seed-supply systems and participatory plant breeding; combining knowledge and empowerment.
- Challenging policy and power barriers through enhancing vertical knowledge flows.