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The determining factors of farm sustainability in a context of growing agricultural intensification

Baccar M., Bouaziz A., Dugue P., Gafsi M., Le Gal P.Y.. 2019. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 43 (4) : p. 386-408.

Farms are evolving in a political and social environment concerned with the three dimensions ¿ environmental, social, and economic ¿ of sustainable farming. This study analyses the key factors determining the sustainability of 36 farms reflecting the diverse farming systems found on the Saïs Plain in Morocco, where an intensification dynamic encouraged by the government is combined with increasingly constrained access to irrigation water and fluctuating agricultural commodity prices. The sustainability of each farm was assessed using the Indicateurs de Durabilité des Exploitations Agricoles/Farm Sustainability Indicators method. A multivariate statistical analysis was conducted to analyze and group the case farms and assess the scores of each component of sustainability. Results show that agroecological sustainability of a farm depends on its autonomy in using resources and the extent to which its production system is diversified. Farm structure and the choice of production system affect economic sustainability. The farmers' preferences and social values influence socio-territorial sustainability. No farm is able to obtain a high total sustainability value (max 55/100), with the economic dimension varying in opposite directions to the agroecological and socio-territorial dimensions. The implications of the choice of the assessment method on the sustainability results are discussed, as are the consequences of agricultural policies on the farms' sustainability.

Mots-clés : politique agricole; agroécologie; diversification; agriculture durable; maroc

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Economie et politique agricoles

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