Title: Agroecological and conventional agricultural systems: comparative analysis of coffee farms in Brazil for sustainable development

Authors: Andrea Pronti; Mario Coccia

Addresses: Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Via Voltapaletto 11, 44121 Ferrara, Italy ' CNR – National Research Council of Italy, Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Via Real Collegio, 30, 10024 Moncalieri, Torino, Italy

Abstract: A main problem in emerging countries is the reduction of poverty in rural areas with sustainable agricultural systems. This study analyses differences between agroecology (a pattern of sustainable economic development with ecological processes directed to reduce production costs and support natural resource management) and conventional agricultural systems by using data of 15 small coffee farms in the East Region of Minas Gerais state (Brazil) that is characterised by rural poverty and environmental fragility. The results show that agroecological systems can support local small farmers to stabilise and diversify incomes. In addition, results here reveal that agroecological practices, compared to conventional agricultural systems, have eliminated the use of pesticides and reduced the use of fertilisers, supporting larger areas of forest conservation. Overall, then, this study suggests that agroecology is a cost-effective and sustainable agricultural system for smallholder farmers to support sustainable economic growth and wellbeing of rural areas.

Keywords: agroecology; smallholder agriculture; farm analysis; coffee market; Brazil; sustainable agriculture; agricultural systems; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2020.115223

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2020 Vol.23 No.3/4, pp.223 - 248

Received: 03 Apr 2020
Accepted: 20 Oct 2020

Published online: 04 May 2021 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article