Agroecology for the larger

When exposing ideas or concepts using words, we take risk that they will be completely or partially distorted, in the mind of those who hear or read them. So, you are saying one thing, and the other person is understanding another. This fact is particularly important in the field of abstract nouns, such as Agroecology, for example. According to the experiences of each one, the concept of Agroecology can remember the study of alternative agricultural production techniques. For others, an approach political-social, or food production. There are still those who confuse it with the organic agriculture.

In the literature, there are different definitions for Agroecology, according to different authors. Most of them consider it to be an integrating science, therefore complex, that unites several areas of knowledge, which presupposes a holistic and transdisciplinary. Inside the portress, this science of studying and developing sustainable techniques and modes for agricultural production, by understanding of the natural laws involved in agroecosystems.

Unlike other sciences, Agroecology considers not only the results research, but also the local popular wisdom, of the people who deal with the land, for food production. This makes it a modern science, which also operates under the perspective of human values and needs. In a way, it contrasts with the classic, cartesian view, which seeks “absolute” and “exempt” truths.

Outside the portress, Agroecology studies several issues, ranging from logistics, trade, people's health and even the living conditions of rural communities and public policies for food production. This set of concerns for outside the portress, makes Agroecology a political and social science, in addition to ecological and agronomic. It also causes the ancient and moldy division between sciences natural and social sciences, in a way, lose their meaning.

As such, Agroecology undoubtedly represents a renewal of concepts, a breaking paradigms, an alternative path to the one being followed by the conventional agribusiness. And, precisely because it questions the predominant model, this new science obviously threatens already established interests and beliefs. Therefore, it follows little by little, breaking resistance and skepticism, in the normal trajectory of all human novelties and discoveries.

Well, in the case of Brazil, agroecological discourses and practices have been, almost always linked to small agricultural property and, as a consequence, to agriculture including the social movements that defend agrarian reform. In fact, the current production model of large agricultural properties, makes it very difficult to full application of Agroecological concepts. The most difficult points are the question monoculture and the extension of crops.

However, the insistence on hitting the old land reform key will not make us advance. Instead, the biggest properties can and should benefit now even, by choosing to adopt at least the first steps of the transition in-house agroecological policy. And that is what many are already doing. They are:

1. Reduction of inputs and aggressive management of soil life;
2. Substitution of aggressive inputs and management by others that favor life;
3. Increase plant biodiversity in the area.

In parallel, the large property must, if it wants to adapt to the new times, adopt other techniques and managements that did not necessarily come from Agroecology, but are in tune with it. Some examples are: 

1. Crop-livestock integration;
2. Crop-livestock-forest integration;
3. Cover plant cocktails, in succession to crops;
4. Use of rock powders (remineralizers).

Meanwhile, in the medium or small size properties, we could move forward more with the other stages of the agroecological transition, redesigning its entire system productive, commercial and social. The migration of these properties to the model agroecological, will have a positive impact on the income of these producers, and mainly, it will have a huge positive impact on the health of our society. That by the fact that agroecological production generates more nutritious food and, almost always cleaner, without residues of pesticides, or pesticides, as they wish.

In the case of large properties, adopt the first steps of the transition agroecology, along with other measures in the same direction, will improve their results. In addition, it will have a highly positive impact on the most important for humanity today: the environmental issue, including warming global, for the consequent carbon sequestration.

The change in current models of agricultural production, both for producers of commodities, as for food producers, is an urgent need. The best way to do this is to prepare our technicians to use the strategy according to the size of the property and the purpose of production. At agronomy schools need to renew themselves, teach less about products and more about systems. Maybe we even need two different agronomies: production agroecological food and sustainable commodity production.

Agriculture can indeed promote a quantum leap, both in terms of health and in solving environmental problems. But we need to get out of smallness and ignorance the irresponsible immediate thoughts that have dominated the actions of the majority companies and politicians. Maybe they need to know the indescribable pleasure to do the right thing. Our children and grandchildren await our next steps, anxious for knowing what kind of world they will inherit. Let's wake up?

Antonio N.S. Teixeira

Executive Director - IBA

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