06/12/2016 - Article
Agro-ecology is a scientific priority for both CIRAD and INRA. In both North and South, the agro-ecological approach is key to the development of sustainable, versatile farming systems. It has established a new paradigm for designing sustainable food systems. With this in mind, CIRAD and INRA have identified five lines of research: biodiversity; the main bio-geochemical cycles; landscapes and territories; production systems; and innovation systems.
CIRAD and INRA have released a guidance paper that pinpoints agro-ecology as one of their main scientific priorities, in line with:
The two research organizations are convinced that agro-ecology is a way of switching to sustainable, versatile farming systems, in both northern and southern countries. In industrialized countries, high agricultural productivity has meant biodiversity losses, standardization, increasingly artificial landscapes, and pollution (soil, air, water). The aim is to strike a better compromise between agriculture and the environment in a context of modernization, homogenization and specialization, in which 2.5% of the population work in agriculture.
In the South, many countries are facing contrasting climates, a population explosion and a lack of investment. Rural employment and poverty are major development issues. The aim is to help small-scale family farmers adapt to climate change without reproducing some of the deadlocks resulting from productivist models.
Within this framework, CIRAD and INRA have identified five lines of research in support of the agro-ecological transition:
As a scientific discipline, agro-ecology is often seen as a cross between ecology and agronomy, with a view to designing and managing sustainable agro-ecosystems. It also calls upon the economic and social sciences in order to come up with versatile systems and foster their deployment through appropriate public policy and support.
For both organizations, agro-ecology is a rapidly developing research topic, with almost 450 articles referenced in 2014.