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How agriculture can be intensified in Africa without causing harm

Tawanda Marandure and Kennedy Dzama

Sustainable agriculture is a popular concept. It’s warmly embraced as a guiding light for the future of food production. But there is still a great deal of disagreement about what the concept actually means and entails.

There is broad agreement about what sustainable agriculture’s main aim should be. It ought to optimise locally available natural resources without negatively affecting the resource base. Social integrity is also a priority. For example, the welfare of animals and labourers should be taken care of.

Here’s the Sustainable Agricultural Institute’s definition:

… adopting productive, competitive and efficient production practices, while maintaining or improving the natural environment and the global ecosystem, as well as the socioeconomic conditions of local communities.

Conventional agriculture differs. It aims to maximise yields and economic returns. This is often done with little regard for the environment and the impact on society. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, is designed to address problems like environmental pollution from excessive use of fertilisers.

The article's full-text is available here.

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