Agroecology, Small farmers and Livelihoods: A Critical Analysis for Sustainable Development

Productive and sustainable agrarian systems are key to the livelihoods of small farmers and the economies of developing countries. However, conventional, intensive and monoculture agricultural systems have over exploited the natural reserves resulting in severe environmental degradation parallel to high prevalence of global hunger and malnutrition. In response, agroecology has arisen as the alternative low-input agriculture system to address the issue of sustainability whilst conserving biodiversity. This study, which was carried out as a work placement project at Practical Action UK, attempts to discuss agroecological processes as an enterprise of human activities. The first and second chapter, after reviewing the discipline and evolution of agroecology, critically analyse the benefits of agroecology to small farmers in the developing world especially where the importance of markets and trade are under-valued. The third chapter highlights the vital role of the private and public sector to promote agroecological practices amongst small farmers to enhance incomes and ensure long term adoption. Various case studies from around the world are discussed as evidence to support the argument throughout the study.

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