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Sustainability: the way ahead

Sustainability: the way ahead

International Agricultural Development 16(5): 11-13

The paper begins by discussing five schools of thought on agricultural development: (1) the optimist argument that supply will always meet increasing demand; (2) the environmental pessimists suggest that ecological limits to growth are being approached, or have been reached and that yield growth of the major cereals has slowed and may even stop or fall; (3) it is believed that the developing world will never be able to feed themselves for a range of ecological, institutional and infrastructure reasons and so the looming food gap will have to be filled by modernized agriculture in the developed north; (4) the 'new modernist' approach which argues that biological yield increases are possible on existing lands, and that this food growth can only come from high-external input farming; and (5) the benefits of sustainable intensification whereby substantial growth is possible in currently unimproved or degraded areas whilst at the same time protecting or even regenerating natural resources. The failure of the new modernist approach to achieve food security is examined.

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Accession: 002973579

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