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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Agroecology as a path in the face of chemical dependent agriculture

Larissa Mies Bombardi

University of São Paulo, Department of Geography, Brazil


With the worldwide economy, particularly after World War II, agriculture started to take on a global scale, not only in the sense that a significant part of the agricultural production started to be globally commercialised, becoming a commodity, but also because it began to become dependent on chemical industries of fertilisers and pesticides and, more recently, on patented seeds.
The industrialisation of agriculture – which allowed agricultural production to be carried out on a very large scale and in a homogeneous way – became known as the “Green Revolution” and had, as a justification for its implementation, the promise of overcoming hunger, through the use of technology.
However, more than half a century has passed and, even so, the only constant still is hunger. Currently, the number of hungry people in the world has increased. In 2020, from 9.2% to 10.4% of the worldwide population faced hunger.
Not only has hunger increased, but, in addition, the environment and human health have been intensely contaminated by chemical substances used in agriculture.
To look at the human and environmental tragedy resulting from this agricultural model, let us focus on Brazil, the country that is the largest worldwide exporter of soy, beef, sugar, coffee and orange juice, among other products.
In Brazil, the emblematic expansion of soy – which currently covers an area equivalent to the entire territory of Germany and whose production has grown exponentially – shows us how devastating the monoculture expansion scenario for exportation is.
Between 2010 and 2020, the use of pesticides in Brazil substantially increased by 78.3%. As a consequence of this increase, we are witnessing chemical violence, oftentimes indirect, silent and subtle, which arises as an unfolding of the aforementioned Green Revolution.
Facing the model imposed by the Green Revolution, which reveals itself to be external, homogenizing, dangerous and colonialist, agroecology appears as an alternative, proposing changes to the way economic processes unfold.
The need for a progressive transition to the path of agroecology is urgent. Otherwise, we will continue on a route that will result in a collision against ourselves.

Contact Address: Larissa Mies Bombardi, University of São Paulo, Department of Geography, São Paulo, Brazil, e-mail: larissab@usp.br

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