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New directions towards sustainability of agricultural systems

Alhamidi, Sameer K. (2003). New directions towards sustainability of agricultural systems. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Alnarp : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria, 1401-6249 ; 425
ISBN 91-576-6460-9
[Doctoral thesis]

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Agriculture is one of the most important human activities, one closely asociated with nature. Thus, the man-nature relationship, shich is guided by a worldview, plays a significant role here in determining the methods for using nature to human ends. The dominance of industrialism (a utilitarian, materialistic and mechanistic approach) as a worldview in agriculture has led to man´s operating as an exploiter of natural resources through use of technical aids. Such an approach has produced a rapid decline both in social systems and in the natural environment. Due to problems of this sort, as well as the growing scepticism regarding the ability of technology to increase productivity sufficiently to meet future demands, modern agriculture can be considered unsustainable. Understanding existing traditional farming systems that have their roots in the more distant past, having emerged and developed in quite different social and cultural contexts than those dominating most of agriculture today, could help highlight issues of sustainability. The traditional farming system in the Ghouta, which has been an integral part of the social life and has contributed to the food supply of Damascus for millenia, was selected for this purpose. The objective was to re-examine the potential that traditional agriculture of this type has for contributing to sustainability of agricultural systems and for redirecting modern agriculture towards a sustainable path. Four key terms best summarize the major features of the methodology adopted in the research project: a system orientation, an interdisciplinary, a participatory approach and the use of quantitative methods in a qualitative context. Elderly farmers in the Ghouta using on the one hand, human knowledge and experience, so-called tradition and, on the other hand, divine guidance, are able to keep their farming system alive, both biophysically and economically. Their worldview plays a significant role in setting an overall objective, that of maintaining the existecne of their system and in adopting an altruistic approach, that of their being nurturers of the farm components including non-agricultural living vessels. Agriculture is thus carried on in a productive rather than an extractive way that is both meaningful and sustainable. The integration of diversity and the socio-cultural context with a high level of market orientation that stimulate diversity, all of them driven by a spiritual orientation, form the pillars of the sustainability of this system, which might justifiably be called the original farming system.

Authors/Creators:Alhamidi, Sameer K.
Title:New directions towards sustainability of agricultural systems
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria
Year of publishing :October 2003
Number of Pages:47
ALLI. Alhamidid, Sameer K., Gustafsson, M., Ibrahim, J., Hillbur, P. & Larsson, H. 2003. A study of the traditional farming system in the Ghouta, oasis of Damascus, Syria (submitted manuscript). II. Alhamidid, Sameer K., Håkansson, B. & Gustafsson, M. Economic viability of the traditional farming system in the Ghouta, oasis of Damascus, Syria. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture Volume 18, Number 3, 2003 (in press). III. Alhamidid, Sameer K., Gustafsson, M., Hillbur, P. & Larsson, H. The cultural background of the sustainability of the traditional farming system in the Ghouta, oasis of Damascus, Syria. Agriculture and Human Values 20: 231-240, 2003 (in press). IV. Alhamidid, Sameer K., Gustafsson, M. & Hillbur, P. 2003. The traditional farming system in the Ghouta, oasis of Damascus, Syria: past, present, and future prospects. (Manuscript).
Place of Publication:Alnarp
ISBN for printed version:91-576-6460-9
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:E Economics, development, and rural sociology > E20 Organization, administration and management of agricultural enterprises or farms
Subjects:Not in use, please see Agris categories
Agrovoc terms:biodiversity, agroecosystems, economic analysis, participation, traditional farming
Keywords:diversity, agroecosystem analysis, economic analysis, ecosystem health, participant observation, qualitative research
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ID Code:376
Deposited By: Staff Epsilon
Deposited On:20 Oct 2003 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:20 Jun 2016 14:42

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