September 1, 2010


The cultivation or growth of a single crop or organism especially on agricultural or forest land.

"A growing number of people have become concerned about the long-term sustainability of existing food production systems. Evidence has accumulated showing that whereas the present capital- and technology-intensive farming systems have been extremely productive and competitive, they also bring a variety of economic, environmental and social problems (2) ." "Evidence shows that the very nature of the agricultural structure and prevailing policies have led to this environmental crisis by favoring large farm size, specialized production, crop monocultures and mechanization... The lack of rotations and diversification take away key self-regulating mechanisms, turning monocultures into highly vulnerable agroecosystems dependent on high chemical inputs... An excessive reliance on monoculture farming and agroindustrial inputs, such as capital-intensive technology, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, has negatively impacted the environment and rural society (3)" "The need to subsidize monocultures requires increases in the use of pesticides and fertilizers, but the efficiency of use of applied inputs is decreasing and crop yields in most key crops are leveling off. In some places, yields are actually in decline. There are different opinions as to the underlying causes of this phenomenon. Some believe that yields are leveling off because the maximum yield potential of current varieties is being approached, and therefore genetic engineering must be applied to the task of redesigning crop. Agroecologists, on the other hand, believe that the leveling off is because of the steady erosion of the productive base of agriculture through unsustainable practices (4)."

1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
2.Conway, G.R. and Pretty, J.N. 1991. Unwelcome harvest: agriculture and pollution. Earthscan Publisher, London.
Altieri, Miguel A. 2000. Modern Agriculture: Ecological impacts and the possibilities for truly sustainable farming
4.Altieri, M.A. and P.M. Rosset 1995. Agroecology and the conversion of large-scale conventional systems to sustainable management. International Journal of Environmental Studies 50: 165-185.

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