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How to feed nine billion within the planet’s boundaries: the need for an agroecological approach

Global agriculture is challenged by a combination of climate change, biodiversity loss, and the growing demand for food, feed, fiber and energy. The research and development community has been looking into various ways of making agriculture more sustainable, and agroeoclogical approach gives high expectations.

Agroecology is a scientific approach to sustainable agriculture which follows ecological principles such as diversity and regeneration. This “nothing wasted, everything transformed” approach preaches for low input, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Agroecology is also a system approach, and has a strong social focus, paying attention to public health, cultural values, and community resilience as well as to social and economic justice.

This Policy brief “How to feed nine billion within the planet’s boundaries: the need for an agroecological approach”, developed by the SIANI Expert group on agriculture transformations in low-income countries, explains how agroecology could be a useful tool for creating sustainable and resilient food systems that put farmers in the centre. Drawing on the Planetary Boundaries framework, this Brief suggests how agroeocological practices can reduce the pressure created by the existing agriculture practice on each of the nine Planetary Boundaries and pinpoints key interventions for facilitation of agroecological transformation.