Nibbles: Greens, Agroecoagriculture, Nuts, Marketing

3 Replies to “Nibbles: Greens, Agroecoagriculture, Nuts, Marketing”

  1. Agroecology and ecoagriculture: Not so much settling differences as dividing up the funding pot. And the similarities are more than the differences. Both are approaches – formulated in the USA – to get developing countries doing things they might not otherwise have done in their farming. The more respectable one is ecoagriculture – using farms to conserve wildlife. This is needed in developing countries because the original method – the Yellowstone formula – removed all people and agriculture from a vast system of strictly protected areas. It failed. Ecoagriculture attempts to blend productive farming with conservation, hopefully but not yet certainly without reducing farm production. What is certain is that it ecoagriculture will not be used to rehabilitate protected areas for food production.
    Agroecology is far more suspect. It claims to be based on ecological principle but that is mainly hot air. It ignores plant breeding (unless done by farmers), misrepresents monocultures (a sound mechanism of controlling competition from weeds) and has no understanding whatever of the value of plant introduction. The main source of agroecological wisdom at present is the USA – academics and NGOs; the main target is Latin America – in particular Brazil, with attempts to turn agriculture back a century. However, this `agrocological reversion’ would most benefit US farmers and exporters who, from an almost monopoly, have been steadily losing market share to South America (maize, soybean and even rice), a global market worth very many billions of dollars.

  2. The linked post seemed to emphasize scale, with ecoagriculture taking a landscape approach. That would be consistent with Dave Wood’s emphasis on wildlife, but there are other advantages. Diverse landscapes may be easier to manage than diverse (intercrop) mixtures, and much of the pest-control benefits of diversity apparently depend on landscape diversity rather than field scale, according to this paper
    I think Dave’s criticism of agroecology only applies to some agroecologists.

  3. Ford: “criticism of agroecology only applies to some agroecologists.” Agreed. Great chunks of crop research are agroecology: agronomy, bio-control, soil biology, plant physiology and lots more. I’d like to think I am an `agroecologist’ but do not want to rub shoulders with many of the recent proponents.

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