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Assessing family farm sustainability using the IDEA method in the Saïs plain (Morocco)

Baccar M., Bouaziz A., Dugué P., Gafsi M., Le Gal P.Y.. 2016. In : Social and technological transformation of farming systems: Diverging and converging pathways. Newport : IFSA, 11 p.. European IFSA Symposium. 12, 2016-07-12/2016-07-15, Newport (Royaume-Uni).

The increase of irrigated crops in Saïs plain has led to an alarming aquifer over-exploitation and has contributed indisputably to price volatility related to the saturation of local and national markets. Consequently, these dynamics put the sustainability of farms at risk. Hence, to better evaluate how farmers consider the sustainability issue, responses were collected from a survey covering 40-farms related to farmers' perceptions and attitudes towards the sustainability concept. The environmental issues, taking into consideration that they are the responsibility of public bodies and policies, did not feature prominently as a key priority for farmers. In fact, to bring into focus the inherent weaknesses of farmer's agricultural practices, the IDEA method was adapted to evaluate the sustainability of 14 farms. Methodological changes concerns (i) score weighting, in order to highlight local issues (ii) removal of irrelevant indicators and (iii) addition of major local issues. The method enables each single type of farmers to better identify weaknesses that they can improve. Also, it arouses reflections regarding the technical reasoning as well as the value systems on the origin of the farmers' decisions. However, most farmers were not individually concerned by environmental issues addressed by IDEA. They were mostly concerned about economic aspects as key drivers for their decision-making processes and their perception of sustainability. The discussions of the IDEA results yielded two main reactions; (i) farmers intent to secure on-farm income through diversification of productions and (ii) farmers willingness to take economic risks, especially in speculative horticulture value chains.

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