Upscaling Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis and Related Agroecosystems Services in Smallholder Farming Systems
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Smallholder farming systems form unique ecosystems that can protect beneficial soil biota and form an important source of useful genetic resources.They are characterized by high level of agricultural diversity mainly focused on meeting farmers’ needs. Unfortunately, these systems often experience poor crop production mainly associated with poor planning and resource scarcity. Soil fertility is among the primary challenges faced by smallholder farmers, which necessitate the need to come up with affordable and innovative ways of replenishing soils. One such way is the use of microbial symbionts such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), a beneficial group of soil microbiota that form symbiotic associations with majority of cultivated crops and play a vital role in biological soil fertility, plant nutrition, and protection. AMF can be incorporated in smallholder farming systems to help better exploit chemical fertilizers inputs which are often unaffordable to many smallholder farmers.The present review highlights smallholder farming practices that could be innovatively redesigned to increaseAMFsymbiosis and related agroecosystem services. Indeed, the future of global food security depends on the success of smallholder farming systems, whose crop productivity depends on the services provided by well-functioning ecosystems, including soil fertility.