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sustainable agriculture

beetroot growing in a field
Organic farming in the Dominican Republic. Nick Sireau /Progressio

Poverty and hunger in the developing world cannot be solved by technological fixes like GM crops. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, can provide a long-term route out of poverty for millions of small-scale farmers and the countries in which they live.

What is sustainable agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture can be defined in many different ways, but basically it means farming in a way that balances long-term environmental soundness, social equity and economic viability.

In practice, sustainable agriculture emphasizes crop diversity and rotation, favours small and medium-sized farms rather than large corporations and prioritises the growth of staple crops over cash crops.

The environment is protected because sustainable agricultural practices ensure the conservation of natural resources such as soil and water. It relies on the recycling, sharing and saving of materials and helps communities to manage their own development.

Control of food production

Sustainable agriculture also promotes a more democratic form of food production - often known as 'food sovereignty' - that prioritises local and national needs over export-orientated production and enables countries to protect their economies and their most vulnerable producers. This model of production is being increasingly adopted by farmers' organisations in both developed and developing countries.

Eradicating poverty

If we are to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1 (eradicating extreme poverty and hunger) and Millennium Development Goal 7 (ensure environmental sustainability) it is essential that we support and invest in sustainable agriculture.

To find out more about Progressio's work on sustainable agriculture, visit the main Progressio web site.

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