A lot of national and international effort has been made to promote sustainable agricultural production systems in drylands. However, success has been seriously limited due to lack of thorough characterization of the impact of the diversity of farm household types on productivity, resource-use efficiency and economic and nutritional status. This study applied hierarchical ascendant classification to a random sample of 286 cereal-producing farm households in Morocco and identified distinct household typologies. It also carried out an analysis of trade-offs between economic, nutritional and environmental factors induced by the production decisions of the different farm household typologies. Our analysis identified three dominant farm household typologies in the production system, namely: (i) intensive predominantly-vegetable farming households with high input intensities, (ii) semi-intensive cereal mono-crop farming households with moderate input intensities and (iii) extensive mixed cereal-legume farming households with low input intensities. Extensive mixed cereal-legume farming households exhibited the highest resource-use efficiency and high biodiversity. These benefits, however, came at the expense of a much lower farm income and limited food supplies relative to the other two systems. These results show that, as is the case for many dryland regions, all three farm types showed precarious conditions for one or more of the sustainability-related indicators.
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