“Diversity instead of uniformity” plays a key role in the concept of agroecology. It includes bidding farewell to large-scale mono-cropping and a greater variety of seeds for farmers to choose from.
Photo: Martin Leissl/laif


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“Agroecology” is becoming increasingly important in the debate on the future of agriculture and the food industry. Is it just a new buzzword, one of so many on the long list of sustainable agriculture terms, or is it really a novel approach that calls for changing tack? Our authors explain.

The current industrial agro-food system, including the many aspects of production and distribution, is highly unsustainable, both for environmental and for human health reasons. Furthermore, it fails to feed the world as was promised decades ago. This was concluded in the 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) Report and captured in the statement that “business as usual is not an option anymore” (see also article "IAASTD: From words to action"). The situation was described even more dramatically in the 2013 Review by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), titled “Wake up before it is too late to make agriculture truly sustainable for food security in a changing climate”. But hunger and starvation continue to rise despite the fact that more than enough foodstuff is available and global productivity of most staple crops is still increasing.

Moreover, for many years, scientists have been sounding the alarm that the global ecosystem is in a precarious state and possibly on the verge of an abrupt shift because of anthropogenic pressures.

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