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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

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

Agroecology: feeding the people or feeding the feelings

Hossein Mahmoudi1, Houman Liaghati2, Abdolmajid Mahdavi Damghani3

1Shahid Beheshti University, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Agroecology, Iran
2Shahid Beheshti University, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Iran
3Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Agroecology


The development of organic agriculture (as a kind of Agroecology) especially in developing countries is a special challenge and poses considerable socio-political concerns. Some important uncertainties emerged after the expansion of agroecology and OA such as: ‘Can organic production in developing countries contribute to a sustainable development?’, ‘Can organic production contribute to global food security?’, ‘Where we grow, where we eat?’, and ‘Can OA feed the world?’. These are very important questions and show the polarized debates on agroecology challenges: agroecology is just for feeding the consumers’ feelings or feeding the people with producing better-quality products. In this study, using a comparative survey of 300 farmers and 130 academia in Iran, we analyse and compare the point of view of scientists and farmers regarding the main question of the study: Can agroecological farming feed the world? in the conditions of climate change and increasing populations. They were asked to compare agroecology and industrial agriculture regarding food security in different criteria. The finding shows that the farmers believed that OA and the local food system are in favour of food security and can feed the world, whereas the academia noted that OA, at least in a short time, is not able to feed the increasing population of the country. However, in the long run, it could be possible. The farmers argue that OA could significantly contribute to global food production, including in developing countries which could increase their food security with OA. The Academia noted that OA in developing countries might not urgently render a very feasible alternative for securing food supply because of some major problems such as poor soils, lack of organic matter, labor-intensive cultivation, and invisible results in a short term.

Keywords: Agroecology, organic agriculture

Contact Address: Hossein Mahmoudi, Shahid Beheshti University, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Agroecology, Velenjak, Tehran, Iran, e-mail: h-mahmoudi@sbu.ac.ir

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