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Agroecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers: contributions to food sovereignty

gronomy for Sustainable Development Official journal of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) Springer

Miguel A. Altieri, Fernando R. Funes-Monzote, Paulo Petersen, November 2011

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Summary :

The realization of the contribution of peasant agriculture to food security in the midst of scenarios of climate change, economic and energy crisis, led to the concepts of food sovereignty and agroecologically based production systems to gain much attention in the developing world in the last two decades. New approaches and technologies involving application of blended modern agricultural science and indigenous knowledge systems and spearheaded by thousands of farmers, NGOs, and some government and academic institutions are proving to enhance food security while conserving agrobiodiversity soil and water resources conservation throughout hundreds of rural communities in the developing world. Case studies from Cuba, Brazil, Philippines, and Africa are presented to demonstrate how the agroecological development paradigm based on the revitalization of small farms which emphasizes diversity, synergy, recycling and integration, and social processes that value community participation and empowerment, proves to be perhaps one of the only viable options to meet present and future food needs. Given the present and predicted near future climate, energy and economic scenarios, agroecology has emerged as one of the most robust pathways towards designing biodiverse, productive, and resilient agroecosystems available today.