Reveals vital but overlooked ingredients for spreading innovative sustainable agriculture techniques – mainly institutional collaboration, farmer participation, and political support.
The world’s farmers face a major challenge achieving food security for 5.7 billion people while producing crops sustainably. Growing evidence of the rising costs, diminishing returns, and harmful impacts of chemical-intensive production methods are prompting the public and producers to try alternatives to conventional farming practices. Promising new initiatives are showing that sustainable agricultural practices can be environmentally safe, socially equitable, and economically sound, as well as keeping pace with growing demand for food.
New Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture, a new World Resources Institute study edited by Dr. Ann Thrupp, reveals vital but overlooked ingredients for spreading innovative sustainable agriculture techniques – mainly institutional collaboration, farmer participation, and political support. Nine cases from North America, South America, Africa, and Asia demonstrate that shifting from conventional to sustainable agriculture requires not just new technology, but human will and political support. Dynamic partnerships of farmers, communities, governments, researchers, and non-governmental organizations are needed to make sustainable agriculture work and to ensure food security. But farmers must be empowered to lead, make decisions, adopt new ways, and whole communities may need to take part in these efforts.
The good news embedded in this report is that sustainable agriculture can produce more food for more people. It reveals practical ways that people are using to work together to make agriculture both safer and more productive over the long term. Look at these examples:
Yet, expansion of these partnerships is often impeded by contradictory policies, lack of information, pressures by agro-chemical companies, insufficient resources, and other significant constraints. If these political, economic, and institutional barriers are resolved, the world’s farmers can deliver on the promise of alternative agriculture. Dr. Thrupp and collaborators suggest ways to overcome these constraints and to expand successful initiatives. The key recommendations to make progress in sustainable agriculture include improving training opportunities, strengthening and multiplying partnerships, applying agro-ecological principles, improving the information flow, changing government policies, revamping agrochemical companies’ advertising and marketing strategies, and increasing donor and local support.