Issues Home About Contact Us Issue 18 - July 2019 عربى
Terminology Corner
Agroecology

Agroecology does not have a single definition, as it differs across communities, territories and traditions.  However, agroecology can be understood as an approach to food-system development that places peasants (understood as peasant farmers, fishing communities and pastoralists in rural and urban areas) at the center. In the agroecology movement (linked to the food sovereignty movement), peasants are not only the stewards of the land and natural resources, but also play a central role in preserving biodiversity. Agroecology challenges the dominant, intensive system of industrial food production.  

Due to different pressures, many intergovernmental organizations, private sector entities, research institutes and some NGOs have recognized agroecology, but have reduced it to technological or production practices that fit into the current system of production and consumption. These include damaging practices such as climate-smart agriculture, and the Green and Blue Revolutions, among others. These are not agroecology.

A description of agroecology is expressed in some of the principles agreed upon in the final declaration from the International Forum for Agroecology, 27 February 2015, in Nyéléni, Mali: Agroecology

  • Rejects the use of agrotoxics, artificial hormones and GMOs, andfocuses on preservingthe soil, seas, lakes and rivers, recycling nutrients, the dynamic management of biodiversity and energy conservation at all scales;

  • Preservation of peoples’ sovereignty over territories; communities and peoples are entitled to secure, develop, control, and reconstruct their customary social structures and to administer their lands and territories, including fishing grounds, both politically and socially;

  • Collective rights and access to the commons, including the recognition of customary and traditional tenure systems;

  • Knowledge preservation and learning processes are horizontal and peer-to-peer, based on popular education. Agroecology is developed through our own innovation, research, and crop and livestock selection and breeding;

  • Collective self-organization and action are what make it possible to scale-up agroecology, build local food systems, and challenge corporate control of the food system. Solidarity between peoples, and between rural and urban populations is critical.

  • Reshaping of markets based on principles of solidarity economy and the ethics of responsible production and consumption. It promotes direct and fair short distribution chains, with transparent relationships between producers and consumers, with shared risk and benefits.   

    



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