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close this bookCERES No. 144 - Low-input farming: merits and limits (1993)
close this folderCentrepiece
close this folderStrength through flexibility
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View the documentDiversity and flexibility
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View the documentA cure for sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentIntegrating crops and livestock

(introduction...)

Farmers' own experiments may lead the way to eventual food security

By William Grisley

No one disputes the need to find ways of farming that can meet rising demands for food without wreaking havoc on our natural resource base. But there's plenty of argument about what such high-output, yet sustainable production systems should look like. At one end of the spectrum is purely organic farming, at the other, the highly specialized, agrochemical-intensive monocrop and monolivestock systems of industrial agriculture.

Somewhere in between are alternative food producing schemes which emphasize intensification through both crop and livestock diversification and integration. These systems may well hold the best promise for the future, and today farmers across the developing world are continually experimenting with variations on the alternative theme. Their results can provide guidance - not only for the farmers themselves, but for researchers, development workers and government planners as well.