The world is home to various types of agriculture and various ways of growing food, but they all have the same goal, sustainability. It is a fundamental activity to continue feeding the human population, which will reach 10 billion by 2050.
Advances that have changed crop sustainability
The agriculture practised in the United States or in many parts of Latin America is very different from that in Almeria, for example.
The use of fertilizers and chemicals, which were necessary to supply the demand for food after the world wars, has also been improved. The most widespread development is what is known as integrated control, which uses bio-fertilisers, products that are not harmful either to the crop or to the auxiliary insects.
A step further is biological pest control, which consists of releasing a series of beneficial insects, parasitoids or predators, to kill pests naturally and without the use of chemical treatments. It is highly effective and does not generate economic losses for producers.
Three types of agriculture
The overview reveals three main types of agriculture. Traditional agriculture, which follows the most rudimentary techniques for cultivating the land, as it was cultivated before the advent of the industrial era, coexists with conventional agriculture. This is the adaptation of agriculture to technological evolution and contemporary practices. It is the most widespread. It is applied to all types of crops and geographical areas with high levels of productivity.
A third type and its adoption is on the rise, is organic farming. Its production is based on the non-use of chemicals during cultivation and tillage. In recent years, more and more farmers have been turning to organic farming The European Union has set different standards along these lines. The European strategy ‘From Farm to Fork’ emerged with the idea of implementing changes in this direction: reduction of fertilizers and phytosanitary products and an increase in organic production.
Europe and Spain in the fight for Sustainability
In fact, by 2030, the European Commission is fighting for crop sustainability and has set a target of 25% of its agricultural surface area to be organic. According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Agriculture, the useful agricultural area in Spain dedicated to organic production already reaches 10.79% and is positioned at the top of this ranking together with France, Italy and Germany. In contrast, China, India and the countries of South America are the ones with the largest areas of traditional agriculture.
The most significant figure is provided by Andalusia, which has become a benchmark in organic agricultural production. According to the Statistical Balance of Andalusia 2022, the region has more than 1.3 million hectares of organic crops, which represents 48.92% of the area dedicated to organic farming in Spain. This implies an increase in the number of operators in the sector, which now exceeds 22,000 in primary production and in the agri-food industry. Last year, the organic surface area reached 27.4% of Andalusia’s agricultural surface area. This figure exceeds the target set by the European Union.
In short, the future of agriculture, whether traditional, conventional or organic, lies in a balance between environmental, social and economic sustainability. You can learn this and much more about farming techniques and sustainability in a very comfortable way in our Master in International Agribusiness Management Online.