Farming and Environmental Degradation



Course Instructor


Farming and Environmental Degradation

According to Miguel Altieri’ argument on the article titled Ecological Impacts of Industrial Agriculture and the Possibilities for Truly Sustainable Farming traditional farming was very good and environmental friendly since there was rare signs of environmental degradation as farmers were concerned with ecological changes. The current capital-technology intensive farming has largely led to serious environmental degradation because the farmers and scientist only focus on long term sustainability of food production and low cost food. Technology has really contributed to monoculture through the introduction of agrochemical that has provided fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.

The need to maximize profit through specialization thus boosting country’s economy is the main cause of monoculture in many countries. It is evident that modernized agriculture has brought immense negative contributions in the ecological system and further extended the influence on peoples’ lives, culture, political and social status. Use of fertilizers and pesticides which is contributed by monoculture has greatly depleted and polluted soil, water and every other useful resource used in farming thus causing serious consequences on the environment.

Modification of herbicides and crop engineering has not however brought the expected change it was intended to in some herbicides and even in increasing the yield of some crops but instead brought serious harm to the environment. It is obvious that mechanized farming is not beneficial since it does more harm than good but efforts to indulge in agro ecology are also greatly suppressed in many ways including the government. The need to make money and the intensive advertisements by huge agrochemical corporations is really hindering farmers from adopting the best style of farming that is environmental friendly. Farming can be done in a way that animals and crops grown mutually benefit each other without inclusion of chemicals and fertilizers which are harmful to the environment such as planting cover crops, crop rotation and use of farm yard manure. The size of land does also not support crop rotation and generally the whole issue of agro ecology.

I strongly concur with the author of this article that capital-technology intensive agricultural practices such as use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides which has contributed to monoculture has posed danger in our ecosystem. I strongly support agro ecology since it is the only way environmental degradation can be minimized and our environment can remain at least green and useful to every living organism found in it. Human activities accompanied with intensive and extensive agricultural research on improvement of production yield has overtaken the issues regarding the quality of our ecosystem and the human health to a greater extent. I am left wondering whether the most important thing that farmers emphasize on is just money but not the quality and the eventual effect of their products.

I believe greediness has hugely contributed to environmental degradation particularly by most governments who have encouraged farmers to use monoculture and mechanized farming in order to increase the countries’ income in the international markets. Why can’t the administrations consider the plight of their people in terms of health and the effects of their proposals to the ecosystem? Many diseases are on the rise such as cancer which consumes very many people globally due to the increased use of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and technological modification of crops and animals yet no action is taken by the major players.

Agro ecology may not be implemented at this time because the farmers are convinced that what is in the market is the best especially as far as revenue collection is concerned. However, if societies and citizens can rise against this culture that derail human lives and the ecosystem, farmers may relent and get back to the poly-culture. Unless organizations come out strongly to fight this vice, there will be more depletion of the environment.