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September – 2019 – Agroecology – the future of farming

Unsustainable agricultural practices in the context of climate change is interconnected with food insecurity and hunger, ecosystem depletion, the marginalisation of millions of smallholder farmers, poverty and migration. ‘Present agriculture and food systems are not in line with the need for a sustainable world’, reports the  International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). The challenge remains to find ways for improving farming systems in ways that are appropriate to the environmental, economic, social and cultural situations of resource-poor small-scale farmers.  

The U.N. General Assembly has officially declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming. The Decade aims to inspire the international community to generate a refreshed political commitment supporting family farmers and crafting pro-family farming policies. The resolution acknowledges family farmers as key leaders in the pursuit of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically in “ensuring global food security, eradicating poverty, ending hunger, conserving biodiversity, achieving environmental sustainability, and helping to address migration.

There is an urgent need to promote transformative change in how food is grown, produced, processed, transported, distributed and consumed. Agroecology is seen by many to offer multiple benefits, including for increasing food security and resilience, boosting livelihoods and local economies, diversifying food production and diets, promoting health and nutrition, safeguarding natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem functions. It is especially broadly recognised that it is critical to ensure the active participation of family farmers, in particular small-scale food producers, women and youth, in order to catalyse dialogue and cooperation to scale-up agroecology.

Agroecology is not new. It is being practised by many by different names – alternative agriculture, organic agriculture, permaculture and other forms of non-chemical agriculture. In this issue we would like to include articles that reflect different pathways to agroecology, highlighting how such approaches  address diversified issues that the world is currently facing.

We invite articles on this theme for the September 2019 issue of LEISA India. Kindly send your experiences to the Editor at leisaindia@yahoo.co.in before 10th August 2019.