To meet the global challenge of food security and in particular to support sub-Saharan Africa’s growing population with sufficient and nutritional food, agricultural production must increase. Different approaches and methods for increasing production also need to be assessed in terms of how far they can reduce environmental impacts, given the major environmental challenges for global agriculture, such as climate change, conserving biodiversity etc. At the same time there are pressing social challenges which include the persistence of chronic poverty for many communities and rising inequality globally. Within this context, the concept of sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) has emerged with a generally accepted aim of increasing agricultural productivity while maintaining or improving environmental sustainability.

SAIRLA’s research projects will generate new evidence and decision-making support tools to help governments, policy-makers, investors and other key actors to create an enabling environment for women and poorer smallholder farmers to engage in sustainable agricultural intensification. SAIRLA will facilitate the development of multi-stakeholder learning platform at international, regional and national levels. Participating research organisations, existing agricultural research programmes, African research policy forums and other key stakeholders will utilise SAIRLA’s Learning Alliance to inform, generate, share and ultimately use the research output generated.