Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods

Agriculture is the cornerstone of human survival. Farmers use skills and knowledge of natural resources to grow food and support their livelihoods. The choices we make in how we grow food can either contribute to sustainable development or erode our natural and human capital.

Finding better ways of growing food is critical for our future on this planet. We acknowledge that agriculture in rural landscapes is one element of a range of interlinked strategies to sustain rural livelihoods. Recognising these interlinked strategies, the agriculture and rural livelihoods theme adopts an holistic view in supporting rural livelihoods, considering the full range of livelihood options that can support people.

The aim of the Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods theme is to support sustainable agricultural development that optimises the use of available resources and contributes to social and economic sustainability. We recognise that supporting rural livelihoods should not only address technical challenges, but be aware of the social context in which livelihood decisions are made and be sensitive to the institutional challenges associated with agriculture and rural livelihood development.

ServicesAgriculture, livelihood and natural systems analysis

  • Business planning and development strategies for sustainable agriculture and livelihoods
  • Strategy and policy development
  • Applied research in climate- and water-smart agricultural systems
  • Value addition, market and value chain development
  • Farm business planning

Our focus areas are:

  • Water efficient production systems
  • Integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Landscape restoration planning and implementation.

Current Projects

The Institute is currently involved in various projects across the country. Please view list below for more information.

Agro-Ecology: Investigating Micro-catchment Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation

The INR is currently involved in the implementation of a Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project investigating Micro-catchment (in-field) Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation. The INR agro-ecology team is implementing this research in the Eastern Cape (Tsolo) and in KwaZulu-Natal (Msinga). READ MORE…

Increasing resilience to water-related risks in the UK fresh fruit and vegetable system

We are exploring ways of increasing resilience to water-related risks for both UK-grown and imported fruit and vegetables.  This is one of ten projects forming a research programme investing in the Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context, funded by the Global Food Security Programme . READ MORE…

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