What is the need for sustainable agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture is created with the motive to preserve the environment and create a life for all living beings in a balance. It benefits the environment by maintain soil quality, reducing water usage and minimizing soil erosion. There are various trends in sustainable agricultural practices that helps in preserving the environment from the consumers side, like veganism.
Challenges faced by sustainable agriculture:
Sustainable agriculture not only tries to conserve natural resources but also tries to develop them for future generations and their survival. However, this motive should align with the current livelihoods and should not be limited to an indicator of income levels but must also include public health concerns, social standard of living and education level in the country.
Improving agricultural productivity while maintaining all natural resources is a prerequisite for sustainable farmers. Regardless of the scale of operations, even small farmers can shift to sustainable farming that will create a huge accumulated impact on a global scale.
Land and water management: Rural farmers are heavily dependent on the conditions of soil and water bodies in and around their surroundings. This means that they are dependent on the natural eco system and are ironically the biggest cause of pollution to the resources through dumping and misuse. The land and water resources are under extreme pressure and are constantly deteriorating. Issues like deforestation, overgrazing, intensive cultivation have all caused an imbalance in the natural ecosystem. This has drastically reduced the quality and quantity of available natural resources and increased the volatility and scarcity of the same.
Land management systems: There are five main roads of change in cultivation land that developed countries have reflected upon to increase sustainability:
- Expanding and intensifying irrigated agriculture
- Intensifying marginal land with high population density
- Higher quality of rainfed lands
- Increase in urban agriculture
- Expand agricultural practices to lesser populated lands as well
These practices allow agricultural practiced to be completely independent from each other where the risks and resources associated with each is unique and the available opportunities for diversification and integration improve the overall usage and quality of land.
Water management: there is a vast increase in demand for clean water that is spread across both rural and urban areas for various purposes. Big corporations are also under competition to choose between the use of available water sources for consumption or other activities like developing hydropower plants and irrigation units etc. As the pressure on water sources increase, it not only degrades the quality but also raises serious health and environmental concerns that must be dealt with appropriately.
Land users can also enhance a variety of environmental services that range from carbon sequestration to regulating hydrological flows. All practices no matter how minute help in contributing to the process of preserving the natural biodiversity. The failure of previous conventional conservation methods can be attributed to poor and inappropriate techniques that were not compatible with the prevailing conditions. However, shifting focus now on stopping soil erosion, increasing soil productivity and developing other resources is of prime focus in sustainable agriculture.