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Sustainability of diversified organic cropping systems - challenges identified by farmer interviews and multi-criteria assessments

Rodriguez Gonzalez, Carolina and Dimitrova Mårtensson, Linda-Maria and Zachrison, Mozhgan and Carlsson, Georg (2021). Sustainability of diversified organic cropping systems - challenges identified by farmer interviews and multi-criteria assessments. Frontiers in Agronomy. 3 , 698968
[Research article]

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Abstract

Diversification of cropping and farming systems is a central agroecological principle, which may improve resource use efficiency, reduce pests and diseases, diversify income sources, and enhance the resilience of the production. The main objective of this study was to identify challenges related to the sustainability of organic cropping systems that were diversified according to one or several of the following practices: diverse crop rotation, integration of cover crops, and intercropping. The sustainability assessments were made using a multi-criteria decision aid method (MCDA) and a framework based on the FAO Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems (SAFA) guidelines. Social, economic and environmental aspects were integrated in the sustainability assessments and combined with semi-structured interviews to identify and discuss farmer's perceptions of barriers to crop diversification and sustainability transition. The results showed that diversified organic cropping systems could achieve high overall sustainability, especially in the environmental dimension thanks to non-inputs of pesticides or mineral fertilizers and efficient use of resources. On the other hand, social and economic dimensions were more variable, with challenges of lower sustainability in profitability and management complexity for several of the diversified cropping systems. Limited access to knowledge, technology and markets for minor crops, and concerns about the consistency of policies were highlighted by farmers as barriers for crop diversification. We discuss how the identified challenges can be overcome and argue that fostering collaboration among stakeholders may increase investment capacity and improve access to new or alternative markets, thereby stimulating transitions toward more diversified and sustainable cropping systems.

Authors/Creators:Rodriguez Gonzalez, Carolina and Dimitrova Mårtensson, Linda-Maria and Zachrison, Mozhgan and Carlsson, Georg
Title:Sustainability of diversified organic cropping systems - challenges identified by farmer interviews and multi-criteria assessments
Series Name/Journal:Frontiers in Agronomy
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:3
Article number:698968
Number of Pages:20
Associated Programs and Other Stakeholders:Z - SLU - Library > Odla mera
ISSN:2673-3218
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Accepted version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
Keywords:sustainability assessments, crop diversification, crop rotation, farmers’ perceptions, ex ante, cover crops, intercropping, mixed methods
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-114413
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-114413
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3389/fagro.2021.698968
ID Code:26199
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:24 Nov 2021 15:14
Metadata Last Modified:25 Nov 2021 10:21

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