Agriculture Corner

What is Sustainable Agriculture?


Sustainable agriculture is a hot cake that has been debated globally. This is because of its dynamic nature that sometimes it is very hard to declare a particular farming pattern a sustainable one. The diversity in agriculture makes it complex. However, most of the experts have a consensus that a sustainable agriculture model should fulfill 3 important components. These include social, environmental and economic. In the light of this, sustainable agriculture may be defined as a system that produces food, fiber and animals by using such kind of techniques that are protective and does not harm the environment, human health and communities and safeguard animal welfare. Or more precisely, an integrated farming system that fulfills three P’s criteria that are people, planet and profit is regarded as sustainable agriculture.

Here, it is important to mention that organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture are sometimes confused. It should be cleared “Organic” and “sustainable” are not quite synonym to each other. There are still many practices in organic agriculture that do not comply with the sustainable way of farming. Plus there are reservations on organic agriculture that whether this form of farming can sustain large and explosive population of the world? This is mainly due to less production attainable through organic agriculture.

Benefits of Sustainable Agriculture

There are several benefits of sustainable agriculture. First of all this model of farming ensures supply of healthy food. Food determines the health of people. If we are eating healthy food, then our health will be good. A healthy nation is necessary for prosperous and economically stable country. Less monetary resources are needed on health facilities. Time resource is also saved in this manner.

On the other hand, preservation of planet resources is vital in a sustainable agriculture model so that environment is conserved. The resources like organic fertilizers, seed, soil, minerals and water for irrigation etc. should be used economically and optimally. This allows usage of resources in other production processes. Moreover, the resources become less vulnerable to degradation.

Lastly, sustainability in agriculture brings gain in terms of economic profitability. When resources are managed wisely and sustainably, it generates high profits in return. Less expenditure is incurred on inputs thus increasing the margin between cost and revenue and farmer gets fair share in terms of profitability. Financial security is also ensured.

Other benefits of having sustainability in agriculture are the efficient usage of non-renewable resources and increased quality of farm output. Social and economic equity is also earned as income from sustainable agriculture model has positive impact on it. Pest management, crop diversity and water management are few other benefits of sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable Agriculture Examples

There are numerous sustainable agriculture examples. However, I am discussing the two most important of them. One is the permaculture. It is a designed technique of producing food following the principle of “working smarter not harder” to expel waste and to create efficient system of farming. It is implemented by various means like herb spirals, keyhole and mandala gardens, zero tillage growing grain, sheet mulching, thus each plant serving multiple purposes, and creating swales on contour to hold water high on the landscape.
Another renowned sustainable agriculture example is the hydroponics. Better known today as the 21st century agriculture, in hydroponic model, crop is cultivated in such a manner that the roots of the plants are directly submerge in a mineral solution or precisely the roots are in an inert medium like gravel or perlite. This form of sustainable agriculture is practicable at both small and large scale. The most important aspect of hydroponic is that the crops are grown in a controlled environment. So the risk of contamination and usage of inorganic pesticide and fertilizer is none or minimized.

Importance of Sustainable Agriculture

No one can deny importance of sustainable agriculture in the 21st century. It is the most trusted way of protecting the soil and increasing its fertility. It aids in achieving integration of natural biological cycles and controls them accordingly. Importance of sustainable agriculture can also be observed from the fact that it also improves the organizational use of on-farm resources and helps in reducing dependence on non-renewable resources and other purchased inputs. Livelihoods of the farmers are enhanced along with elevated harmony among the faring community.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, July 26). What is Sustainable Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

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