All RISE results are based on interviews with farmers.
Photo: E. Mill/giz

16.06.2014

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Family farms are often associated with greater sustainability. But the definition of sustainability is a highly disputable topic. The School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) in Switzerland has developed a method enabling a more objective evaluation of sustainability in agriculture. Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation (RISE) covers ten sustainability indicators and supplies the foundation for agricultural advice.

Nowadays, there is general agreement that only sustainable agriculture will be capable of feeding the world’s population without destroying the environment and the natural resources. However, opinions are divided on what sustainable agriculture should look like. Everyone, ranging from grassroots organisations through farmers’ federations to the manufacturers of pesticides and fertilisers, claims to be supporting sustainable agriculture. To some, only organic and /or smallholder agriculture is sustainable, whereas others also include industrialised agriculture.

The reason why these views diverge is that sustainability is defined in different ways and different priorities are set.

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