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The return of high food prices and the need to adapt to climate change have revived interest in agricultural technologies adapted to smallholders, in particular women. Sustainable intensification of smallholder production will require a shift to knowledge-intensive agriculture that combines local knowledge and the latest sustainability science to adapt practices to local ecosystems and increase resilience to climate change, price and other shocks. Poor farmers, often women, usually cultivate in more extreme environments in addition to being less connected to markets. A radical change in the focus of national agricultural plans and substantial investment are needed to unleash smallholder production potential, contributing to achieving MDGs and boosting food production to meet the 70% increase needed by 2050. A holistic approach is needed to raise productivity and resilience of agriculture and supporting ecosystems as well as the efficient and equitable functioning of agricultural supply chains.