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Individu soalan 2: How could agricultural development help the rural poor? Discuss.

Agriculture is the cultivation of land and breeding of animals and plants to provide food, fiber, medicinal plants and other products to sustain
and enhance life.[1] Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated
species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of
agriculture dates back thousands of years; people gathered wild grains at least 105,000 years ago and began to plant them around 11,500
years ago before they became domesticated. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Crops originate from at
least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has in the past century come to dominate agricultural
output, though about 2 billion people worldwide still depend on subsistence agriculture.

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological developments have sharply
increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding
and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and
environmental damage through contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, deforestation, antibiotic resistance, and growth
hormones in industrially produced meat. Genetically modified organisms are widely used, although they are banned in several countries.

The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials (such as rubber). Classes of foods
include cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meat, milk, and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture,
second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the
past several centuries.

What Are the Benefits of Agriculture and Farmers?

Humans once subsisted by hunting and gathering, foraging for available food wherever it could be found. These early peoples necessarily
moved frequently, as food sources changed, became scarce or moved in the case of animals. This left little time to pursue anything other
than survival and a peripatetic lifestyle. Human society changed dramatically approximately 12,000 years ago, possibly related to the ending
of the last ice age, when agriculture began. People began planting collected seeds, harvesting them and selecting successful crops. This
encouraged people to make permanent homes. With a settled lifestyle, other pursuits flourished, essentially beginning modern civilization.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Agriculture gave people the opportunity to create civilizations, fight hunger and work to combat challenges in population growth and climate
change.

Early Agriculture

Early farmers domesticated cereals, fruits, vegetables and animals. This helped to preserve many species selected for their high nutrient
content and reliable harvests. In turn, the stable food supply created by farms kept people from starving, and in fact led to a rapid increase in
population around the world.
Modern Agriculture's Opportunities

While at first farms grew a large variety of foods depending on their location, this eventually changed with the advent of rail transportation in
the 19th century. Once rapid transport of crops began, a shift in farming methods took hold. An emphasis on producing high yields of a few
reliable grain types resulted in a reduction in global hunger.

Today, agriculture relies on global trade. As the human population approaches 10 billion people by 2050, agriculture is poised to continue
growth to meet the demand for food. Farming creates opportunities to lift people out of poverty in developing nations. Over 60 percent of the
world’s working poor works in agriculture. Farming creates more jobs, beginning with farmers, and continuing with farm equipment makers,
food processing plants, transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing.
Developments in Farming Sustainability

Modern agriculture’s huge reliance upon a few crops invites challenges, given changes in climate and the potential for harvest failures. New
farming endeavors promise to battle the opposing problems of both malnutrition and obesity. To create better crop diversity for human
health and food security, farmers are working to create markets for new crops. More environmentally friendly farming techniques offset
climate challenges and protect local ecological systems while securing the food and water supply. Sustainable farming methods create
better food diversity, preserve water with more efficient facilities and drought-tolerant crops, and encourage better livestock health. Farmers
represent a front line to defend against the risks of climate change.

Organic agriculture forges a path for sustainable food supplies. Organic farmers work to improve soil fertility by rotating crops, using cover
crops and tilling the soil. By not using pesticides, farmers allow groundwater to maintain greater quality and cleanliness. These methods
encourage biodiversity in crops, maintain more natural environments in and around farms, and create habitats for flora and fauna.
Farmers Improve Their Communities

Another positive development in farming is the rapid expansion of farmers markets. Farmers markets allow small farmers to interact directly
with consumers. The food system remains within the local economy by being locally produced and eliminates the need for long-distance
transportation. The opportunity to purchase locally grown food proves invaluable as the demand for it rises. Consumers benefit from
healthier food options, and farmers benefit from new opportunities to sell their crops. Consumers and their children can learn first hand from
farmers about products, and how they are raised. Farmers interact with and improve the communities they serve.

Five Reasons Why Youth Should Choose Agriculture

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What type of career do you aspire to have? Do you want to be an artist, a business person, or a policymaker?

Or, have you ever wanted to become a farmer? I would not be surprised if you said no.

When weighing career choices, many young people in the developing world tend to shy away from agriculture. I, too, once found myself
disenchanted by the small villages and rice fields I grew up seeing every day. As the conventional belief goes, agriculture means an archaic
lifestyle and a future with limited opportunities for youth.

But I later learned I was wrong. Plenty of evidence shows us that agriculture provides youth a viable way to harvest success and grow a
sustainable future. In other words, I believe youth can, and should, choose agriculture. Here are five reasons:

1. Agriculture matters to the future of development.

Agriculture is up to four times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty. Increasingly, the world is counting on agriculture to
produce more nutritious food for — and improve the livelihoods of — a booming population, especially the poor. What could be more
meaningful than being part of a proven solution to such a critical challenge?

2. Agriculture can be a gold mine for young entrepreneurs.

Meet Randa Filfili, a young entrepreneur from Senegal. She is also the first Senegalese producer who saw value in the fruit of cashew trees
that others had considered waste, and turned it into “niche” jam products for export. Through agribusiness, Randa has not only carved out a
successful career of her own, but also helped local farmers reach global markets, and create jobs for other young people — especially
women. So, the next time you come across Randa’s all-natural cashew apple butter in your local produce store, think about how you can
also start up a business in agriculture to help both yourself and the rural poor.

3. Agriculture is not cool? Think again.

In Uganda, a young team with the World Bank and UNICEF used a mobile and web-based app called “U-Report” to swiftly help 190,000
farmers save their bananas — a staple food for Ugandans — from a vicious disease. Countries like Kenya and Rwanda are also eager to
boost productivity through information and communication technologies and other creative solutions. Agriculture in the developing world has
become a field vibrant with effective innovations, thanks to a growing number of young techie minds that make it happen.

4. Agricultural research needs young brainpower.


If you are a “young nerd” into development research, agriculture may be the right place for you. Numerous stories from East Africa and other
places have shown that research revolutionizes agriculture and transforms livelihoods. Today, more than before, climate change and a
growing demand for nutritious food are for fresh ideas and renewed knowledge to explore ICT in agriculture, foster climate-smart agriculture
and innovate in the sector to power future growth.

5. The trend of youth choosing agriculture is growing.

Attitudes toward agriculture are already changing. In Cameroon, where agriculture is becoming more competitive, young educated
Cameroonians “have decided to become farmers, acquire land, grow maize professionally for trade, and manage their enterprises in order
to earn a living,” according to Félix Nkapemin, an agricultural expert working with local farmers. Other countries like Armenia, Brazil, Malawi,
and Senegal are investing in youth and agriculture with the support from the World Bank Group and other development organizations.
Young people are also increasingly speaking up for themselves on why they choose agriculture.

The trend is growing. Support for the agriculture sector is increasing. The list of reasons is endless. This International Youth Day, I invite you
to share your thoughts and experiences on why you think youth should engage in agriculture, and how it can help reduce poverty and boost
shared prosperity.

Advantages of Conservation Agriculture


Conservation agriculture is generally a "win-win" situation for both farmers and the environment. Yet many people intimately involved with
worldwide food production have been slow to recognize its many advantages and consider it to be a viable alternative to conventional
agricultural practices that are having obvious negative impact on the environment. Much of this has to do with the fact that conservation
agriculture requires a new way of thinking about agricultural production in order to understand how one could possibly attain higher yields
with less labor, less water and fewer chemical inputs. In spite of these challenges, conservation agriculture is spreading to farmers
throughout the world as its benefits become more widely recognized by farmers, researchers, scientists and extensionists alike.

Specifically, conservation agriculture (CA) increases the productivity of:

 Land - Conservation agriculture improves soil structure and protects the soil against erosion and nutrient losses by maintaining a
permanent soil cover and minimizing soil disturbance. Furthermore, CA practices enhance soil organic matter (SOM) levels and
nutrient availability by utilizing the previous crop residues or growing green manure/ cover crops (GMCC's) and keeping these
residues as a surface mulch rather than burning. Thus, arable land under CA is more productive for much longer periods of time.

 Labor - Because land under no-till is not cleared before planting and involves less weeding and pest problems following the
establishment of permanent soil cover/crop rotations, farmers in Ghana reported a 22% savings in labor associated with maize
production. Similar reductions in labor requirements have been reported with no-till rice-wheat systems in South Asia and various
CA technologies in South America. Much of the reduced labor comes from the absence of tillage operations under CA, which use
up valuable labor days during the planting season.

 Water - Conservation agriculture requires significantly less water use due to increased infiltration and enhanced water holding
capacity from crop residues left on the soil surface. Mulches also protect the soil surface from extreme temperatures and greatly
reduce surface evaporation, which is particularly important in tropical and sub-tropical climates. In Sub-Saharan Africa, as with
other dryland regions, the benefits of conservation agriculture are most salient during drought years, when the risk of total crop
failure is significantly reduced due to enhanced water use efficiency.

 Nutrients - Soil nutrient supplies and cycling are enhanced by the biochemical decomposition of organic crop residues at the soil
surface that are also vital for feeding the soil microbes. While much of the nitrogen needs of primary food crops can be achieved by
planting nitrogen-fixing legume species, other plant essential nutrients often must be supplemented by additional chemical and/or
organic fertilizer inputs. In general, soil fertility is built up over time under conservation agriculture, and fewer fertilizer amendments
are required to achieve optimal yields over time.

 Soil biota - Insect pests and other disease causing organisms are held in check by an abundant and diverse community of
beneficial soil organisms, including predatory wasps, spiders, nematodes, springtails, mites and beneficial bacteria and fungi,
among other species. Furthermore, the burrowing activity of earthworms and other fauna create tiny channels or pores in the soil
that facilitate the exchange of water and gases and loosen the soil for enhanced root penetration.

 Economic benefits - Farmers using CA technologies typically report higher yields (up to 45-48% higher) with fewer water, fertilizer
and labor inputs, thereby resulting in higher overall farm profits. In Paraguay, net farm income of no-till (NT) farming on large-scale
commercial farms increased from $2,3467 to $32,608 more than farms using conventional tillage over a 10 year period. The
economic benefits of NT and other conservation agriculture technologies, more than any other factor, has lead to widespread
adoption among both large- and small-scale farmers throughout the world.

 Environmental benefits - Conservation agriculture represents an environmentally-friendly set of technologies. Because it uses
resources more efficiently than conventional agriculture, these resources become available for other uses, including conserving
them for future generations. The significant reduction in fossil fuel use under no-till agriculture results in fewer greenhouse gases
being emitted into the atmosphere and cleaner air in general. Reduced applications of agrochemicals under CA also significantly
lessens pollution levels in air, soil and water.

 Equity considerations -Conservation agriculture also has the benefit of being accessible to many small-scale farmers who need
to obtain the highest possible yields with limited land area and inputs. Perhaps the biggest obstacle thus far for the technology
spreading to more small-scale farmers worldwide has been limited access in certain areas to certain specialized equipment and
machinery, such as no-till planters. This problem can be remedied by available service providers renting equipment or undertaking
conservation agriculture operations for farmers who would not otherwise have access to the needed equipment. Formulating
policies that promote adoption of CA are also needed. As more and more small-farmers gain access to CA technologies, the
system becomes much more "scale neutral."

 Active role for farmers -As with any new agricultural technology, CA methods are most effective when used with skillful
management and careful consideration of the many agroecolgical factors affecting production on any given farm or field. Rather
than being a fixed technology to be adopted in blueprint-like fashion, CA should be seen as a set of sound agricultural principles
and practices that can be applied either individually or together, based on resource availability and other factors. For this reason,
farmers are encouraged to experiment with the methods and to evaluate the results for themselves- not just to "adopt" CA
technologies. Selecting among different cover crop species, for example, needs to be determined in relation to particular
agroecological conditions of the farm, including soil type, climate, topography as well as seed availability and what the primary
function of the GMCC will be. Similarly, planting distances, irrigation requirements and the use of agrochemicals to control weeds
and pests among other considerations, must be decided based on what the farmer needs as well as the availability of these and
other resources.
Kumpulan : What are the benefits of technology towards farming industry? Discuss

Importance of Technology in Agriculture:


 They are used to harvest the crops.
 In the production of genetically modified crops.
 New varieties of fertilizers and pests can be produced.
 Magnetic resonance in agriculture.
 Breeding of animals which are resistant to disease.
 Big scope in irrigation plants.
 Used to generate the new variety of crops.
 Further, helpful in Green Revolution.
 Hybrid crops.
 Genetically modified crops.
 High productivity.
Advantages of Technology in Agriculture:
 Modern machines can control the efforts of farmers.
 They reduce the time.
 Used supply water to the crops.
 While Machines are useful in sowing the seeds.
 they are used in the transportation.
 Irrigational technology.
 Application of synthetic fertilizers.
 Chemical pest control.
 They increase the price and demand of the products.
 Better marketing and exposure to the price.
 Facilities in online trading and E-Commerce.
 Further, Improve the fertility of the soil.
 Decrease the use of water, Fertilizers which keeps the prices down.
 Low run of chemicals and also waste materials into seas and water.
 Reduce impact on the ecosystem.

Importance Of Technology In Agriculture

Most people are unaware of the true significant of agriculture in our society. It’s more than just to provide food to the total numbers of
individuals in a certain country. Agriculture does not only provide our nourishment for our daily intake but also an income source of every
single nation that exists on this planet, where most manufacturing industries as well as businesses are dependent on it. Without giving a
serious attention on it, any country can be politically and economically unstable and paralyzed in any ways.
When social development rises to its peak, so is the importance of technology in agriculture was fully recognizes and brings to open. It
began in the early times when our forefather thought of tilling the ground and establishing food crops and grain as a main source of food
aside from animals. Agriculture does not only develop every place it has implanted but also give additional knowledge and provide a better
technology. No one can deny its importance in our daily lives for it has transformed mankind continually from time to time.Refined things has
evolved and brought forth modern technology into the field of agriculture. From the earliest time, ancient people have already engaged in
some form of agricultural technology used in planting, collecting or even gathering. But unfortunately such technological tools are
inadequate to bring out the best in agricultural industries. The simple plowing tool that was the most important equipment a farmers had, rest
to its usage and form until modern centuries had arrived. It was changed into a steel plow and later was developed into a gigantic plowing
machine. Tractors were put into the field as a replacement on the old plowing devices. The once was manually being done, was now
operated by machines. The burden and hard labor was now being lessened as man operated equipment rules the field. The importance of
technology in agriculture made major changes in farming business.

Another development in agriculture also occurred on this earlier times when the threshing machine was first invented. It was design to
separate the grain from the stalks and husk. Over the years before it was created the grains from the crops was separated manually by the
used of hands with swings and beats. This was a hard, tough and strenuous activity which would take an hour or a day to finish.
Modernization by the used of threshing machine makes the process easy and fast. With this advantage brought by technology on agriculture
provide a quicker supply of food in a certain city or towns. Importance of technology in agriculture brings numerous major modifications in
agricultural machines that introduced equipment that decreased the volume of labor needed but augmented productivity.
Even though advancement can be quiet expensive sometimes yet, high-end technological advances have been a great benefit to most
farmers by constructing a stress-free and more cost-effective agricultural existence. Therefore, technology makes an impact to every
individual and to mankind as a whole. The importance of technology in agriculture gives a dynamic force for world’s development-an
economic backbone.
So, as you seen technology is really important for agriculture, do share your thoughts on this topic with us in the comments below.

What are the environmental benefits of organic agriculture?

Sustainability over the long term. Many changes observed in the environment are long term, occurring slowly over time. Organic
agriculture considers the medium- and long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while
establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach as opposed to
treating problems after they emerge.
Soil. Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum
tillage are central to organic practices. These encourage soil fauna and flora, improving soil formation and structure and creating more
stable systems. In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased and the retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced,
compensating for the non-use of mineral fertilizers. Such management techniques also play an important role in soil erosion control. The
length of time that the soil is exposed to erosive forces is decreased, soil biodiversity is increased, and nutrient losses are reduced, helping
to maintain and enhance soil productivity. Crop export of nutrients is usually compensated by farm-derived renewable resources but it is
sometimes necessary to supplement organic soils with potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and trace elements from external
sources.
Water. In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater courses with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of
these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and through
the use of greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation), enhancing soil structure and water infiltration. Well
managed organic systems with better nutrient retentive abilities, greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution. In some areas where
pollution is a real problem, conversion to organic agriculture is highly encouraged as a restorative measure (e.g. by the Governments of
France and Germany).
Air and climate change. Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high
quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its
ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Many management practices used by organic agriculture (e.g. minimum tillage, returning crop
residues to the soil, the use of cover crops and rotations, and the greater integration of nitrogen-fixing legumes), increase the return of
carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favouring carbon storage. A number of studies revealed that soil organic carbon contents under
organic farming are considerably higher. The more organic carbon is retained in the soil, the more the mitigation potential of agriculture
against climate change is higher. However, there is much research needed in this field, yet. There is a lack of data on soil organic carbon
for developing countries, with no farm system comparison data from Africa and Latin America, and only limited data on soil organic carbon
stocks, which is crucial for determining carbon sequestration rates for farming practices.
Biodiversity. Organic farmers are both custodians and users of biodiversity at all levels. At the gene level, traditional and adapted seeds
and breeds are preferred for their greater resistance to diseases and their resilience to climatic stress. At the species level, diverse
combinations of plants and animals optimize nutrient and energy cycling for agricultural production. At the ecosystem level, the maintenance
of natural areas within and around organic fields and absence of chemical inputs create suitable habitats for wildlife. The frequent use of
under-utilized species (often as rotation crops to build soil fertility) reduces erosion of agro-biodiversity, creating a healthier gene pool - the
basis for future adaptation. The provision of structures providing food and shelter, and the lack of pesticide use, attract new or re-colonizing
species to the organic area (both permanent and migratory), including wild flora and fauna (e.g. birds) and organisms beneficial to the
organic system such as pollinators and pest predators. The number of studies on organic farming and biodiversity increased significantly
within the last years. A Recent Study Reporting On A Meta-Analysis Of 766 Scientific Papers concluded that organic farming produces
more biodiversity than other farming systems.
Genetically modified organisms. The use of GMOs within organic systems is not permitted during any stage of organic food production,
processing or handling. As the potential impact of GMOs to both the environment and health is not entirely understood, organic agriculture is
taking the precautionary approach and choosing to encourage natural biodiversity. The organic label therefore provides an assurance that
GMOs have not been used intentionally in the production and processing of the organic products. This is something which cannot be
guaranteed in conventional products as labelling the presence of GMOs in food products has not yet come into force in most countries.
However, with increasing GMO use in conventional agriculture and due to the method of transmission of GMOs in the environment (e.g.
through pollen), organic agriculture will not be able to ensure that organic products are completely GMO free in the future. A detailed
discussion on GMOs can be found in the FAO publication "Genetically Modified Organisms, Consumers, Food Safety And The
Environment".

Ecological services. The impact of organic agriculture on natural resources favours interactions within the agro-ecosystem that are vital for
both agricultural production and nature conservation. Ecological services derived include soil forming and conditioning, soil stabilization,
waste recycling, carbon sequestration, nutrients cycling, predation, pollination and habitats. By opting for organic products, the consumer
through his/her purchasing power promotes a less polluting agricultural system. The hidden costs of agriculture to the environment in terms
of natural resource degradation are reduced.

Community Farming Benefits

Community farming offers many benefits to farmers who want to practice sustainable agriculture and to communities who want fresh,
healthy, locally-produced food.

Healthy Local Economies

Community farms are locally owned and operated, and democratically controlled. Local farms keep money circulating in their communities
rather than exporting it to absentee owners or shareholders, and the benefits are passed on to local restaurants, farmers markets, retailers,
and consumers.

Environmental Solutions

Agriculture and farming practices can both harm and protect environmental systems and processes. Groups that farm cooperatively feel a
strong sense of stewardship and responsibility to the land, but farmers do face barriers when they choose to farm sustainably. By basing
their agricultural activities on sustainable practices, community farms balance environmental sustainability with retention and protection of
valuable and threatened farmland.

Local Food Security

Rural communities import much of their food. In the context of a global food crisis, establishing local suppliers of diverse food products
increases food security in small rural communities. Communities that invest in community farms help secure farmland and build local food
systems for ongoing food production.

Market Stability

When a community invests in a farm, its long term viability and security as a food production (and social) system are supported. Farmers
benefit from market and price stability when communities support their farmers through community shared agriculture programs, farmers
markets, and local distribution networks.

Social Capital and Community Amenities

Community farms build 'social capital' by involving a diverse group of individuals – farmers, community members, and organizations – with
different skills and knowledge. This social capital, or wealth, helps create community amenities beyond food production, including
environmental and agricultural education, recreational opportunities, and nature conservation areas.

For more than a century mainstream economists in both capitalist and socialist countries have confidently and enthusiastically predicted the
demise of the small, family farm. Small farms have time and again been labeled as backward, unproductive and inefficient, an obstacle to be
overcome in the process of economic development. The American model of large scale, mechanized, corporate agriculture is held out as
the best, if not the only way to efficiently feed the world's population.
If small farms are worth preserving — if indeed a small farm model of rural development makes more sense than does the large-scale,
mechanized, chemical intensive, corporate dominated and socially excluding model toward which business-as-usual is carrying us — then
now is the time to act. The first point worth noting is that while small farmers have been driven out of rural America by the millions, and we
have seen a similar, though lessor rural-urban migration in the Third World, the fact is that family farmers do still persist in the U.S. and
continue to be numerically dominant. In the Third World they are central to the production of staple foods. The prediction of their demise
continues to be premature, though their numbers have dropped substantially and they face new threats to their livelihoods on an
unprecedented scale.

The second point is that small farms are far from being as unproductive or inefficient as so many would have us believe. Peasants have
stubbornly clung to the land despite more than a century of harsh policies which have undercut their economic viability.

The third point is that small farms have multiple functions which benefit both society and the biosphere, and which contribute far more than
just a particular commodity. These multiple and beneficial functions should be seriously valued and considered before we blithely accept yet
another round of anti-small farm policy measures — this time at the level of the global economy.

I am not alone in speaking to the value of small farms and calling for policy change to take advantage of their potential dynamism. The
United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Commission on Small Farms released a landmark report in 1998 titled "A Time
to Act." What the USDA calls the public value of small farms includes: Diversity; Environmental benefits; Empowerment and community
responsibility; Places for families; Personal connection to food; and Economic foundations. The USDA Commission calls for a change in
policies that have favored large, corporate-style farms for so very long, with hideous costs to rural communities and the environment.

To face the current challenges of agriculture, we need to address agriculture and land in a broader context by integrating multiple roles
(economic, food production, nature and land management, employment, etc.). Sustainable agriculture and land use is not just a means to
obtain more food and income in socially acceptable ways which do not degrade the environment. Rather, it has an all-encompassing impact
on communities, environments, and consumers. Sustainable land use is an opportunity to improve the quality of the environment, including
its physical (increased soil fertility, better quality air and water), biological (healthier and more diverse animal, plant, and human
populations), and social, economic and institutional (greater social equity, cohesion, peace/stability, well-being) components. Land is not just
a resource to be exploited, but a crucial vehicle for the achievement of improved socioeconomic, biological, and physical environments.
Concretely, by paying attention to the multiple functions of agriculture and land use, all economic, social and environmental functions of
agriculture, at multiple levels, are recognized and included in decision making in order to promote synergies between these functions and to
reconcile different stakeholder objectives.

Likewise, if we are to fairly evaluate the relative productivity of small and large farms, we must discard "yield" as our measurement tool.
Yield means the production per unit area of a single crop, like "metric tons of corn per hectare." One can often obtain the highest yield of a
single crop by planting it alone on a field — in a monoculture — producing nothing else of use to the farmer. The bare ground between the
crop rows — empty "niche space" in ecological terms — invites weed infestation. The presence of weeds makes the farmer invest labor in
weeding or capital in herbicide.

Large farmers tend to plant monocultures because they are the simplest to manage with heavy machinery. Small farmers on the other hand,
especially in the Third World, are much more likely to plant crop mixtures — intercropping — where the empty niche space that would
otherwise produce weeds instead is occupied by other crops. They also tend to combine or rotate crops and livestock, with manure serving
to replenish soil fertility. Such integrated farming systems produce far more per unit area than do monocultures. The total output per unit
area, often composed of more than a dozen crops and various animal products, can be far, far higher. Therefore, if we are to compare small
and large farms we should use total output, rather than yield. While yield almost always biases the results toward larger farms, total output
allows us to see the true productivity advantage of small farms. In all cases of data examined relatively smaller farm sizes are much more
productive per unit area — 2 to 10 times more productive — than are larger ones. There are a variety of explanations for the greater
productivity of small farms in the Third World including: multiple cropping; land use intensity; output composition; irrigation; labor quality;
labor intensity; input use; and resource use.

While small farms are clearly more productive than large farms, claims are often made that large farms are still more efficient. To start with,
this depends on the definition of efficiency that one chooses. Small farms make more efficient use of land. Large farms generally have
higher labor productivity due to mechanization, so they might be considered to be more efficient in labor usage. The definition of efficiency
most widely accepted by economists is that of "total factor productivity," a sort of averaging of the efficiency of use of all the different factors
that go into production, including land, labor, inputs, capital, etc. Tomich and others (1993) provide data from the 1960s, 70s and early 80s,
which show small farms have greater total factor productivity than large farms in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Mexico and Columbia. In
industrial countries like the U.S. the pattern is less clear. The consensus position is probably that very small farms are inefficient because
they can't make full use of expensive equipment, while very large farms are also inefficient because of management and labor problems
inherent in large operations. Thus, peak efficiency is likely achieved on mid-sized farms that have one or two hired laborers.

Here in the United States, the question was asked more than a half-century ago: what does the growth of large-scale, industrial agriculture
mean for rural towns and communities? Walter Goldschmidt's classic 1940's study of California's San Joaquin Valley compared areas
dominated by large corporate farms with those still characterized by smaller, family farms. In farming communities dominated by large
corporate farms, nearby towns died off. Mechanization meant that fewer local people were employed, and absentee ownership meant that
farm families themselves were no longer to be found. The income earned in agriculture was drained off into larger cities to support distant
enterprises, while in towns surrounded by family farms, the income circulated among local business establishments, generating jobs and
community prosperity. Where family farms predominated, there were more local businesses, paved streets and sidewalks, schools, parks,
churches, clubs, and newspapers, better services, higher employment, and more civic participation. Studies since Goldschmidt's original
work confirm his findings remain true today.

The benefits of small farms extend beyond the economic sphere. Whereas large, industrial-style farms impose a scorched-earth mentality
on resource management — no trees, no wildlife, endless monocultures — small farmers can be very effective stewards of natural
resources and the soil. To begin with, small farmers utilize a broad array of resources and have a vested interest in their sustainability. At
the same time, their farming systems are diverse, incorporating and preserving significant functional biodiversity within the farm. By
preserving biodiversity, open space and trees, and by reducing land degradation, small farms provide valuable ecosystem services to the
larger society.

If we are concerned about food production, small farms are more productive. If our concern is efficiency, they are more efficient. If our
concern is poverty, land reform to create a small farm economy offers a clear solution. The small farm model is also the surest route to
broad-based economic development. If the loss of biodiversity or the sustainability of agriculture concern us, small farms offer a crucial part
of the solution.

Trade liberalization, the move toward global free trade policies, poses a grave threat to the continued existence of small farms throughout
the world. Over the past couple of decades Third World countries have been encouraged, cajoled, threatened, and generally pressured into
unilaterally reducing the level of protection offered to their domestic food producers in the face of well-financed foreign competitors. On the
face of it, this might sound like a good thing. After all, more food imports might make food cheaper in poor, hungry countries, and thus make
it easier for the poor to obtain enough to eat. However, the experiences of many countries suggest that there are downsides to these
policies which may outweigh the potential benefits.

First, a sudden drop in farm prices can drive already poor, indebted farmers off the land over the short term. Second, a more subtle effect
kicks in. As crop prices stay low over the medium term, profits per unit area (per acre or hectare) stay low as well. That means the minimum
number of hectares needed to support a family rises, contributing to abandonment of farm land by smaller, poorer farmers, land which then
winds up in the hands of the larger, better off farmers who can compete in a low price environment by virtue of having very many hectares.
They overcome the low profit per hectare trap precisely by owning vast areas which add up to good profits in total, even if they represent
very little on a per hectare basis. The end result of both mechanisms is the further concentration of farm land in the ever fewer hands of the
largest farmers.

Agriculture produces not only commodities, but also livelihoods, cultures, ecological services, etc., and as such, the products of farming
cannot be treated in the same way as other goods. While a shoe, for example, is a relatively simple good whose world price can be set by
supply and demand, and the trade in which can be regulated through tariffs or de-regulated by removing them, not so for farming, whose
roles are far more complex.

Agriculture not only produces/supplies agricultural products, but also contributes to food security, by reducing the risks caused by
unexpected events or a possible food shortage in the future, to the preservation of land and environment, to the creation of a good
landscape and to the maintenance of the local community, through production activities in harmony with the natural environment. All of
these roles are known as the "multifunctionality" of agriculture. As an expert in small farm production, I completely endorse this view.
Ignoring the multiple functions of agriculture has caused untold suffering and ecological destruction in the past. The time is long overdue to
recognize the full range of contributions that agriculture, and small farms in particular, make to human societies and to the biosphere. Farms
are not factories that churn out sneakers or tennis racquets, and we cannot let narrow arguments of simple economic expediency destroy
this legacy of all human kind.