Integrated systems research for sustainable smallholder agriculture in the Central Mekong: achievements and challenges of implementing integrated systems research

This book summarizes the achievements as well as some of the challenges faced while implementing integrated systems research to support the sustainable development of smallholder farming in the uplands of the Mekong region. It describes how CGIAR centres and national and local partners collaborated to test options to increase farm productivity in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, and how field trials in Xishuangbanna, China; Son La, Viet Nam; and, Luang Prabang, Laos, showed that agroforestry and home-based vegetable gardens, among other interventions, could contribute to reduced land degradation and erosion. Efforts were also made to address the marginalization of ethnic minority farmers from agricultural and rural development. The book also discusses lessons learned in the research, including what did not work and possible reasons for that. Integrated systems research often requires ‘doing things differently’, which can lead to resistance among those involved. Also, implementing processes such as establishing and working together through multi-stakeholder platforms, was challenging and not always easy. However, some interesting new partnerships have emerged from this experience.