Sustainable agriculture takes into account aspects related to the well-being of society and local ecosystems. By AFONSO PECHE FILHO scientific researcher at Agronomic Institute of Campinas – IAC.
Sustainable agriculture can be defined as a part of economic development that takes into account aspects related to the well-being of society and local ecosystems. A fundamental point of sustainable agriculture is its economic essence, influenced by environmental and social factors and, above all, respect for all forms of life.
In the field of ecology, sustainable agriculture can be defined as a condition that maintains itself over time, with income, without erosion, without compaction and without degradation. It is a condition of high resilience and suppression, full of biodiversity. With technological assistance, it enhances production without compromising or causing the scarcity of existing natural resources.
Agriculture practiced in a conventional way, in reality, cannot be considered sustainable. It has as reference a strong utilitarian sense of nature, land, water, plants and man. It occurs in an economy focused on quick profits and consumerism at the expense of other forms of life.
Conventional agriculture brought numerous technological advances, but it also brought a certainty: today, we have many environmental problems. In this way, it condemns our future by bringing more uncertainties and distances us from responsibility towards future generations.
It is not sustainable to encourage agriculture just to increase production and relegate the maintenance of conditions of productive continuity to a lower priority point. It is unsustainable to produce while compromising the productive capacity and profitability of the area.
Thus, competitiveness is predatory of its own productive system, leaving the survival of the farmer more and more compromised. Using “cutting-edge technology” and passively living with land degradation brings imbalances that are difficult to correct. The degraded land does not disappear, the farmer who “breaks” and leaves the market disappears.
In the pursuit of sustainable agriculture, the first practical step is self-criticism. It is necessary to develop the capacity to critically assess financial, environmental and social results. Self-criticism is done through the analysis of scenarios and facts, of the ways that technology uses, of recognizing errors and identifying possibilities for correction.
From reflection, we can review and change our positions on decisions in personal or professional life. All this contributes to the qualification of the farmer to practice the appropriate use of ecosystems, lands, technologies and human resources. Qualification for the practice of sustainability.
The second step is the willingness to review the forms of occupation and use of the land. Decades after deforestation, agricultural areas continue to be prepared in the traditional production model. The soil undergoes a kind of progressive degradative metamorphosis, at the risk of presenting serious problems resulting from the same occupation design (roads, carriers, paths, traffic lines); it also suffers from the accumulation of negative effects due to use and continuous exposure to the sun and rain.
Currently, in many agricultural properties, it is possible to visualize “erosion scars” as well as to visualize many points of puddling. It is not difficult to find roads or paths “embedded” in the bed, accumulating erosive runoff.
Sustainable agriculture calls for a more balanced commercial intervention with self-containment mechanisms. Conditions are created for less aggression and soil protection, for protecting springs and forest fragments, in addition to enhancing biodiversity. Conditions are developed to reduce the dependence on the indiscriminate use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and to effectively optimize the genetic potential of cultivated plants.
The product of sustainable agriculture is the construction of “productive environments” and not “degraded environments”. There is no agricultural land with only utilitarian value, but land cultivated for life. Balanced biodiversity activates and protects farmers’ profitability and longevity. Sustainable agriculture leads to the path of a more humane society and a future with certainty of balance and more income.
Source Revista Attalea Agronegócios