Agricultural Diversification In Agriculture

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Due to globalization and the massive increase in world population, farming systems will be forced to increase the production of food, feed, energy and other raw materials. This increase in the production of agricultural products could generate high pressures on ecosystems and further reduce the ability of these ecosystems to provide services to humanity. For this reason, the management of ecosystems and implementation of agricultural diversification are suggested as key aspects to ensuring food and envi- ronmental security. Nevertheless, some scientists discuss that agricultural diversification is not the only strategy available to tackle these challenges. Recently, sustainable intensification (e.g. reducing yield gaps) has been promoted in…show more content…
The introduction of new crops improves productivity, food secu- rity, diminishes economic risks, conserves biodiversity and natural resources (Kremen & Miles, 2012), increasing income, reducing dependence on off-farm inputs and creates new agricultural businesses (FAO, 2013; SARE,…show more content…
The increase of on-farm biodiversity encourages the capacity of agro-ecosystems to maintain soil fertility, regulates water use, reduce the pressure of pests and diseases, and uphold better yield (Scherr & McNeely, 2008). Crop diversification through intercropping, agroforestry and mixed cropping provides better alternatives for improving the stability of production and stimulates intensification of sustainable pro- duction with limited use of resources (Lithourgidis et al., 2011; Malézieux et al., 2009). Multiple ap- proaches and practices have emerged with the purpose of increasing agricultural production while reducing the negative impact on the environment. A clear example is the use of legumes in different production systems as in organic production, agroforestry, permaculture and conservation agriculture3. Legumes are integrated into the farming systems in order to improve water cycles and nutrients in the soil, and also maximize crop residues (Neely & Fynn, 2012). Currently, the interest in healthier foods and people’s awareness of consuming foods produced more environmentally friendly has created a chance on the reintroduction of alternative crops in the farming systems. The diversification of crop- ping systems also generates multiple benefits to economical (e.g. expansion of niche

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