How to sustain able agriculture

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Agriculture has changed dramatically in recent years, especially after World War II. One of the most prominent milestones for its chane was The Green Revolution in 1960, where wheat and rice production was expanded and made more technological. After that, food processing practices have changed dramatically as a result of technical advancements, expanded use of chemical farming, and government policies that promote maximum output. The majority of these reforms lowered labor demands by eliminating much manual labor (Gold, 2016). These reforms have undoubtedly had a number of positive impacts on the agricultural sector, but they also also had a number of negative consequences. Water pollution, soil erosion, higher manufacturing rates, and unemployment are just a few of the negative consequences. In an effort to eliminate all these problems, scientists and other practitioners have been promoting sustainable agriculture for quite some time now.

Background & statement of problem

Sustainable agriculture means production of both plant and animal products using the most effective techniques for environmental protection and conservation (Baker,2017). This includes farming products that protect the welfare of human beings, animal welfare and public health at large. Sustainable agriculture aims at attaining three main goals which are environmental health, economic profitability and balancing both social equity and economic equity because this addresses many environmental and social concerns in farming. In addition, it offers innovative ideas to farmers, retailers, consumers, wholesalers and other players involved in the entire food system (Baker,2017). There has been major farming transformations in the world over the past few years and this has raised the question how agriculture can be sustainable. The main objective of this paper is to analyze ways in which agriculture can be sustainable by analyzing controversial environmental processes or activities in Seattle.

Data collection method

Mean based methods are applied to identify environmental indicators that are related to farming practices while effect based methods are used to identify environmental indicators that are related to systems used in farming.an example of a means based indicator is applying a little amount of chemical fertilizer in plants to test the effects of agro chemical faming. The soil reaction to the fertilizer including its alkalinity and acidity are examples of effect based indicators (Kumari, Varma, Tuteja & Choudhary, 2016). Agricultural sustainability depends entirely on food production practices thus indicators of agricultural sustainability are based on production practices too. However, the data collection method in this case depends on the subject matter of the chosen indicator and the type of data required. For the purpose of assessing agricultural sustainability, the two main methods used are primary data collection method and secondary data collection method.

In this research project, primary data was collected by a third party who assessed farm’s activities and reported through sources like audit reports. The main measurement tool used to calculate information is the greenhouse effect. The research also utilized secondary data collection method because they were not able to collect primary data for all indicators (Sabiha, Salim, Rahman & Rola-Rubzen, 2016). This method was effective for making assumptions about the performance of agricultural sustainability.

Ethical considerations

Food production and all the processes involved like transformation and distribution are acceptable aspects of daily routine in the world and thus such activities have not been addressed as an ethical concern (Veisi, Liaghati & Alipour,2016). However, food and agriculture have major economic benefits which are ethical in nature and this makes sustainable agriculture ethical in nature too. Sustainable agriculture integrates people and landscape to provide them with food and shelter among other material and non-material needs in a way that promotes people’s health standards, promotes animal welfare and entirely protects the environment. There are four ethical considerations that guide agriculturists in their mission to achieve sustainable agriculture.

Care of the earth is the main ethical consideration in sustainable agruiculture.it refers to provisions for all life systems to fulfill their needs, to grow and continue to multiply. All players in the agricultural system must take responsibility and account for all their actions to ensure care of the earth. In addition, scientists and other sustainable agriculture engineers must come with new ideas of human survival which in turn will ensure survival of the entire natural system (Veisi, Liaghati & Alipour,2016). This is because every interaction between different elements leads to multiple opportunities for a sustainable world. Therefore sustainable agriculture should nurture and provide continuous care for earth and all its inhabitants to avoid negative consequences. Every human being in agricultural sector must work with the natural systems available instead of working in competition with them and they should make personal choices that help the earth prosper instead of those that affects its natural resources.

The other ethical issue in sustainable agriculture is care of people.it is the system’s responsibility to allow people to access the natural resources important for their existence. Sustainable agriculture forms interdependence with human beings, embraces their contribution to agriculture rather than opposing their ideas and being in conflict or a competition with them (Veisi, Liaghati & Alipour,2016) Cares of people extends to care of other living things thus if agriculture is sustainable, it does not only protect human beings but it protects the entire universe. Sustainable agriculture ensures that there is clean air, clean water and nutrients- rich foods and this is what ensures survival.

The last core ethic al issue in sustainable agriculture is value of nature. Nature is beautiful and complex and ethics requires every player should maintain its beauty, complexity and integrity (Veisi, Liaghati & Alipour, 2016). Sustainable agriculture has managed to uphold these standards because its main goal is to conserve the environment.

Possible solutions

Industrial agriculture has been the main food production method for most farmers in the world. This system was dominated by large farmers who grew the same crops for years using many different pesticides and fertilizers which are harmful to water, soil, plants and climate in general (Sabiha,Salim,Rahman & Rola-Rubzen, 2016). For this reason, scientists have come up with ways to avoid this production method among others that degrade the natural resources that they depend on. The main goal of a sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s present food and textile needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to satisfy the same needs and everybody who is involved in the food system including retailers, consumers and food growers among others can play a great role in ensuring the agricultural system is sustainable (Baker,2017). They do this by following and applying different policies, practices and philosophies that have helped scientists achieve the three goals of agricultural sustainability as mentioned earlier. For instance, growers can play a very big role in this process by practicing sustainable agricultural practices such as using farming methods that promote the health of soil, minimizing water wastage and using environmental friendly chemical pesticides.

A lot of scientific research has been carried out to find out if agriculture can be sustainable and several principles governing sustainable farming p. First, it is important to put in mind the fact that sustainable agriculture is defined by the principle that farmers and other users of farming systems must meet present farming needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means that both human and natural resources must be managed at all costs (Sabiha, Salim, Rahman & Rola-Rubzen, 2016). For example all the involved parties have to know that they have a social responsibility of ensuring that both the working and the living conditions of workers are good and making sure that rural communities have all their needs met. More so, this principle requires all the players to make sure that consumer health is always a priority for both present and future generations. This principle enhances agricultural sustainability by maintaining land and natural resources for both present and future use.

Secondly, agricultural sustainability utilizes the principle of system approach to emphasize the consequences of farming practices to human beings and their surroundings’ system envisions a broader sense of it because it analyzes the individual farm and then it envisions a broader ecosystem and then analyzes the local and global communities affected by these farming systems (Gold, 2016). Therefore, analyzing agricultural sustainability as a system gives a larger view of the consequences of farming practices to the whole world as it provides the tools to explore the relationship between farming and all the other aspects of human life.

Consequently, agriculture can be sustainable but the transition is a long process. This transition to sustainable agriculture requires farmers to take slow but realistic steps because each individual step is a forward movement towards success. This means that sustainable agriculture is possible but it follows the principle of process. Lastly, it is important to note that a sustainable agriculture can only be reached if all the participants in the system work towards a common goal. These players include farmers, laborers, policy makers, retailers and researchers among others.

All players must follow these principles for sustainable agriculture to occur and they must also incorporate several policies and practices to make the whole process effective. The most recent research on how agro ecological practices can promote sustainable agriculture show that several scientific practices can support productive and profitable farming in the entire world. For example, complex crop rotation systems can have a very great impact on the environment because it involves planting different types of crops on different portions of land. One of the advantages of this is increased productivity because planting different crops leads to healthier soils while at the same time improving pest control ( Gold, 2016). This method also incorporates crop diversity which includes intercropping and crop rotations. These methods of farming lead to sustainable farming because they enhance fulfillment of today’s generations needs without compromising the future generation’s needs. This is because the methods maintain healthy soils for future generations to yield fruit from.

Consequently, practices such as planting cover crops lead to sustainable agriculture because some cover crops such as clover are planted in off season times thus covering the land. Other plants do not grow in theses seasons thus the cover crops prevents the land from losing its healthy nutrients. They protect and maintain the soil’s healthy nutrients while at the same time keeping deadly weeds in check. This farming method is one of the best methods of promoting sustainable agriculture. It protects consumers from poor nutrition by maintaining the soil’s nutritional value, it protects the earth’s moisture by keeping bare land moisturized and it provides shade for insects.

Another practice that promotes sustainable agriculture is reducing or totally eliminating tillage. This term refers to traditional plowing which was a method used by farmers and growers to prepare fields for planting and eliminating weeds (Baker, B. (2017). It was an effective method of preparing fields and it did a great job in eliminating weed but it causes a lot of soil loss. This method increases soil erosion thus reducing soil health. For that reason, most sustainable agriculture practitioners have encouraged farmers to avoid this type of farming.

Food and fiber production should not degrade the world’s natural resources because by doing so, it reduces the ability of future generations to produce thus decreasing their chances of flourishing. Non sustainable farming and forestry practices can lead to this problem as seen in the decline of ancient civilization in Mesopotamia which is one of the greatest examples of natural resource degradation caused by poor farming practices in the world (Baker, 2017). All the players in the system must be made aware of the natural resources and how to use them to avoid degradation since knowledge is the only solution to this problem.

One of the most important natural resource in the world is water.it is actually the main resource that has led to prosperity in the society but it can cause major problems when mismanaged. Therefore, there are several ways in which people should utilize this natural resource in order to make sure that agriculture is sustainable. First, agriculture affects water through wildlife. Agricultural practices affect water resources by destroying habitats in watersheds. (Srivastava, Singh, Tripathi & Raghubanshi, 2016). Farming practices are sometimes extreme in that they reduce wildlife habitats to agricultural land thus reducing fish and wildlife through both sedimentation and erosion. The only solution to this problem is by maintaining plant diversity in areas close to wild habitats in order to maintain a diverse wildlife.

Another natural resource that agriculture depends on highly is energy. Modern agriculture relies highly on non-renewable energy sources like petroleum.it is impossible to sustain these energy sources indefinitely because it would cause an economic catastrophe to stop relying on them (Bashan, de-Bashan & Prabhu, 2016). This does not mean that sustainable agriculture is impossible with continued use of renewable energy since there is a solution to the problem. Sustainable agricultural systems have reduced reliance on these energy sources by substituting them with other methods that are economically feasible such as using renewable energy sources like bio gas, solar or even wind.

The other major natural resource affected by agriculture is soil. Soil erosion has been one major problem in farming because modernization came about with new farming practices that promote soil erosion. However, sustainable agriculture specialists have come up with methods and practices to keep soil fertile and in place (Walter, Finger, Huber & Buchmann, 2017). Such practices include managing irrigation in all ways possible to reduce runoffs and keeping the soil covered up with plants even in the dry seasons. This enhances and promotes the quality of soil thus sustainable agriculture.

Conclusion

In conclusion, farming systems and practices have changed greatly and they will continue to change in the coming years and therefore new principles have been added to define agricultural sustainability. Scientists will continue to focus on achieving the three goals of sustainability to protect public health, animal welfare and to protect the environment in general.

References

Bashan, Y., de-Bashan, L. E., & Prabhu, S. R. (2016). Superior polymeric formulations and emerging innovative products of bacterial inoculants for sustainable agriculture and the environment. In Agriculturally Important Microorganisms (pp. 15-46). Springer Singapore.

Srivastava, P., Singh, R., Tripathi, S., & Raghubanshi, A. S. (2016). An urgent need for sustainable thinking in agriculture–An Indian scenario. Ecological Indicators, 67, 611-622.

Baker, B. (2017). Can Modern Agriculture Be Sustainable? Perennial polyculture holds promise. BioScience, 67(4), 325-331.

Kumari, S., Varma, A., Tuteja, N., & Choudhary, D. K. (2016). Bacterial ACC-deaminase: An Eco-friendly Strategy to Cope Abiotic Stresses for Sustainable Agriculture. In Plant-Microbe Interaction: An Approach to Sustainable Agriculture (pp. 165-185). Springer Singapore.

Walter, A., Finger, R., Huber, R., & Buchmann, N. (2017). Opinion: Smart farming is key to developing sustainable agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(24), 6148-6150.

Gold, M. V. (2016). Sustainable Agriculture: The Basics. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Supply: Scientific, Economic, and Policy Enhancements, 1.

Baker, B. (2017). Can Modern Agriculture Be Sustainable? Perennial polyculture holds promise. BioScience, 67(4), 325-331.

Sabiha, N. E., Salim, R., Rahman, S., & Rola-Rubzen, M. F. (2016). Measuring environmental sustainability in agriculture: A composite environmental impact index approach. Journal of environmental management, 166, 84-93.

Veisi, H., Liaghati, H., & Alipour, A. (2016). Developing an ethics-based approach to indicators of sustainable agriculture using analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Ecological Indicators, 60, 644-654.

December 15, 2021
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