Sustainable farming is not only about high-tech solutions. Most innovations in agriculture revolve around farming practices and crops that have been used for centuries, but somehow lost popularity or were forgotten as mass monoculture farming rose in popularity. Such sustainable practices not only reduce the impacts related to intensive farming, but also help lessen hunger while creating a healthy balanced relationship between people, crops, plants, and wildlife and their environment. Besides keeping the balance, they benefit sustainable development by improving the economic conditions of local farmers and communities. Millions of farmers working in agriculture face issues related to food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition. There’s a huge disparity between the numbers of farmers and their levels of income.
According to FAO, agriculture employees about 27 percent of the world’s farmers, yet it generates only 4 percent of the total GDP. This means that many cannot get out of poverty despite dedicating all their time to agriculture. Low education, lack of access to new knowledge and information, lack of access to new markets, inputs, credit, and loss of soil fertility are some of the reasons why many farmers are struggling.
Over 78 percent of the world’s poorest population live in rural areas and rely on agriculture.
Agroecology is a practice that focuses on all the elements involved in the agricultural process. Its main goal is to apply ecological knowledge and principles in farming. This practice shows that people, farming, and nature can coexist. Therefore it deals with issues related to climate change, such as CO2 emissions, resource management and recycling, and leveraging local supply chains.
Moreover, wildlife and nature are also key elements of agroecology. Moreover, it works with nature and wildlife by promoting biodiversity, adapting to local environments, providing favorable soil conditions for plant growth, minimizing the use of water and energy, etc.
Thirdly, it helps farmers to adopt farming methods that suit the area and its specific environmental, social, and economic conditions.
FAO defines agroecology as a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Moreover, it says that agroecology is concurrently a science, a set of practices, and a social movement.
Agroecology has 10 elements:
Co-creation and sharing of knowledge
Human and social values
Culture and traditions
Circular and solidarity economy
Moreover, agroecology includes a wide range of agricultural practices like organic farming, permaculture, agroforestry, and many innovative ways that prevent environmental harm while empowering local farmers.
Do you think you could implement agroecology in your area? Do you have an idea or project that contributes to sustainable development? Submit it to the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition. Take our free online entrepreneurship training, find new friends, and vote your favorite entries to #CEC22.