Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using special farming techniques. So it can protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. The global agriculture sector has experienced a phenomenal growth since the mid-twentieth century. And the major driving factor is the Green Revolution technology. However, it ensures the significant dent on aggregate supply of food grains. And also ensuring food security to the growing population. The next stage of agricultural growth, however, faces a serious challenge in terms of sustainability. The developing countries are mainly facing the sustainability of the resource use. On the other hand, developed economies are facing the challenge of overuse of chemical inputs. Hence, we must move from the input-intensive agriculture to sustainable farming method.
In the recent phenomenon, the large forest areas, grazing lands, and waste lands are converting into cropland. Because we need to support the rising population. But it is causing ecological imbalance and atmospheric pollution. in such a situation, we must go for a successful agriculture revolution.
Need Of Sustainable Agriculture
Mainly there are three types of farming methods. These are the traditional production system, conventional modern agriculture, and sustainable agriculture. In addition, we can compare them across three dimensions. These are ecological, economic, and social.
The traditional farm practices are nor ecologically sustainable. Furthermore, they overuse natural resources, reducing soil fertility, causing soil erosion and contributing to global climate change. Sustainable agriculture has several major advantages over both traditional and conventional practices. They are:
A continuous fall in soil is a major problem globally. Sustainable agriculture improves fertility and soil structure and prevents erosion.
Irrigation is the biggest consumer of fresh water. In addition, fertilizers and pesticides contaminate both the surface and ground water. Sustainable agriculture increases the organic matter content of the topsoil. So it raises the ability to retain and store water that falls as rain.
Sustainable agricultural practices frequently involve mixed cropping. So it increases the diversity of crops and raises the diversity of insects and other animals and plants in and around fields.
Pesticides are hazardous to human health as well as to the local ecology. Furthermore, incorrect handling, storage and use of pesticides lead to health and pollution problems. Sustainable agriculture reduces or eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals. And it controls pests with a variety of biological and agronomic measures with the use of natural substances.
Traditional agriculture practices contribute significantly to global climatic changes. Furthermore, it contributes to the production of greenhouse gasses in various ways. Sustainable agriculture reduces these impacts significantly.
We must adopt the agricultural practices that are economically viable over the long term. Conventional agriculture poses greater long-term economic risks that the sustainable alternatives.
Export Vs Local Orientation
Focusing on exports involves hidden costs like transportation etc. However, we must treat the domestic demands and in particular food security as equally important to the visible trade balance.
Sustaining Vibrant Communities
A critical component of sustainable agriculture is its ability to remain economically viable, providing farmers, farmworkers, food processors, and others employed in the food system with a livable wage and safe, fair working conditions. Sustainable farms also bolster local and regional economies, creating good jobs and building strong communities.
Concentrating on specific commodities seems to promise high economic returns. However, market production implies certain risks. Markets change quickly and international agricultural prices are dropping. Cheap foreign food may sweep into the national market, leaving the domestic farmers without a market.
Organic agriculture is one of the strongest ways to farm in an environmentally sustainable way. Furthermore, the demand for certified organic product is increasing quickly. It opens the opportunities to expand sales of such products and to explore the niche markets.
The social sustainability of farming techniques is related to the ideas of social acceptability and justice.
Many new technologies fail because they are based on practices and assumptions from outside. Sustainable agricultural practices usually are based on local social customs, traditions, norms and taboos. So, local people are more likely to accept and adapt them for their own needs.
Sustainable agricultural practices often rely on traditional know-how and local innovation. Local people have a wealth of knowledge about their environment, crop, and livestock. Rather than ignoring or replacing this knowledge, sustainable agriculture seeks to build on it. Also, it enriches with the appropriate information from the outside.
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Protection of Public Health
Food production should never come at the expense of human health. Since sustainable crop farms avoid hazardous pesticides, they’re able to grow fruits and vegetables that are safer for consumers, workers, and surrounding communities. Likewise, sustainable livestock farmers and ranchers raise animals without dangerous practices like use of nontherapeutic antibiotics or arsenic-based growth promoters. Through careful, responsible management of livestock waste, sustainable farmers also protect humans from exposure to pathogens, toxins, and other hazardous pollutants.
Traditional farming techniques often fail to produce enough food or enough variety of food for a balanced diet. Conventional modern farming focuses on a few commodities. Sustainable agriculture improves food security by improving the quality and nutritional value of the food and by producing a large range of produce throughout the year.
Hence, sustainable agriculture is economically viable, environmentally safe and socially acceptable.