What is sustainable agriculture?

Title: What is sustainable agriculture?


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Sustainable agriculture is virtually impossible to define precisely. However, it is a concept, goal and practice that we have to develop for the sake of future generations.

One essential principle is that farmers hold the land in trust for those generations to come. Thus, their practices should be designed to conserve or enhance the soil resource. Prevention of land degradation by soil erosion should be paramount in any farming system as should avoiding salinisation and nutrient depletion.

A second principle is that as little disruption to surrounding ecosystems as possible should occur and pollution of potable water supplies should not be tolerated. To this end chemical inputs should be minimal and principles of Integrated Pest Management should be followed.

Reduction of chemical use should not be restricted to pesticides. There also should be reduction in use of fertilizers. This can be achieved by harnessing beneficial micro-organisms. Amongst these are Mycorrhizal fungi and Rhizobia and free living nitrogen fixing bacteria.

The need for large amounts of fertilizer can also be reduced by crop rotation and growing crops appropriate for the soil and climatic conditions.

WWW Sources of Sustainable Agriculture Information

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Copyright © 1996, by L.E. Chinnery. All rights reserved. All media are for the personal use of students, fellow scientists and the public. Any commercial use or publication of them is strictly prohibited.

This page last updated 20 June 1996