Alternative Agriculture

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the guiding policy for agriculture and the largest single budget item in the European Union (EU). Agriculture is essential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the CAP's contribution to do so is uncertain. We analyzed the distribution of €59.4 billion of 2015 CAP payments and show that current CAP spending exacerbates income inequality within agriculture, while little funding supports climate-friendly and biodiverse farming regions.
As a response to the worldwide challenge raised by soil degradation, Conservation Agriculture (CA) was proposed to help restoring the three main soil functions, i.e. carbon transformation, nutrient cycling and structure maintenance. However, there is still a lack of integrative studies that assess the overall impact of CA on soil health. To fill the gap, Biofunctool®, a set of in-field indicators, was developed to monitor changes in soil biological functioning.
Food retailers and manufacturers are increasingly committing to address agricultural sustainability issues in their supply chains. In place of using established eco-certifications, many companies define their own supply chain sustainability standards. Scholars remain divided on whether we should expect such company-led programs to affect change. We use a major food retailer as a critical case to evaluate the effectiveness of a company-led supply chain standard in improving environmental farm management practices.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, June 2014
Sub-Saharan Africa needs to produce more food, feed, and fiber to support its growing population and intensification of smallholder agriculture is a crucial component of any strategy towards this goal. Sustainable Intensification (SI) acknowledges that enhanced productivity needs to go hand in hand with the maintenance of other ecosystem services and enhanced resilience to shocks. A very diverse group of smallholders dominate SSA agriculture, with large heterogeneity in socio-technical conditions, famer typologies, production objectives, and the biophysical environment.
For economic development to succeed in Africa in the next 50. years, African agriculture will have to change beyond recognition. Production will have to have increased massively, but also labor productivity, requiring a vast reduction in the proportion of the population engaged in agriculture and a large move out of rural areas. The paper questions how this can be squared with a continuing commitment to smallholder agriculture as the main route for growth in African agriculture and for poverty reduction.