What is sustainable agriculture?

Andrea Duarte
December 21, 2023

It is common to hear the word sustainable being used: sustainable packaging, sustainable materials, sustainable energy, sustainable production, etc. Have you ever wondered what sustainability really means? Well, it's anything that's designed to meet today’s need without compromising the resources and needs of future generations. Sustainable agriculture means cultivating responsibly, providing products to the market at fair prices and in a way that doesn't harm the environment. 

Today, traditional agriculture has major impacts on the environment and natural resources. The study More people, more food, worse water? presented in 2017 by the FAO and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), presented alarming figures on pollution levels generated by the industry and called on producers to adopt sustainable practices and emphasised the importance of sustainability in agriculture.

What is the main goal of sustainable agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture involves the social, the economic and the environmental, but from a non-individualistic perspective. Its main objective is to improve the way non-renewable resources are used, ensuring their ongoing availability to meet the needs of future generations and global food security.

Sustainable agriculture practices

In order to achieve a more sustainable future for agriculture, agricultural practices need to change. Some of the most sustainable practices include:

1. Crop rotation: Alternating crops helps replenish the nutrients in the soil that the previous crops consumed. The important thing about this practice is to make sure that the crops have different nutritional needs to prevent the soil becoming depleted.

2. Soil maintenance: Keeping the soil in an optimal state for cultivation is one of the practices that can most help to reduce the impact of agriculture on the land. Crop rotation allows for soil recovery while ploughing the land helps oxygenate the soil, control pests, and reduce water buildup.

3. Water use: a vital element for humanity, water should be used in such a way that it won’t become depleted or contaminated. It is essential that the crops are adapted to the climate and the soil as this will reduce the amount of water used in irrigation. Using irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler can prevent water loss. If you want to know more about this we have a blog about this topic.

4. Pest elimination: Pests can be a headache when raising crops. To avoid or eliminate them we have several options, such as: the use of predatory species, bioinsecticides, crop rotation and the selection of pest-resistant crops. 

5. Crop diversity: It is not a very common practice today, but its proper development could result in more resistant crops. This involves cultivating variations of the same species of plant with the aim of preserving some crops in case of an outbreak of disease. 

Does sustainable agriculture require more investment than conventional agriculture?

The answer to this question depends on many factors: conventional agriculture focuses on mass production and the use of technologies that allow for large areas to be cultivated. Also, the consumption of agents used in conventional agriculture to control pests, antibiotics, etc.,can be harmful to our health, so the price to be paid in the future may be higher. 

At Consentio, we understand the impact that changing practices can have, and the investment in time required to make the changes. Did you know that the Consentio software can save money and time? Let us show you how:

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