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Sustainability viewed from farmers' perspectives in a resource-constrained environment

Baccar M., Bouaziz A., Dugué P., Gafsi M., Le Gal P.Y.. 2020. Sustainability, 12 : 15 p..

DOI: 10.3390/su12208671

The way farmers perceive the concept of sustainability as applied to their own farms must be better understood in order to help them evolve towards more sustainable production systems. Based on extensive discussions with 36 farmers on the Saïs plain (Morocco), this article explores farmers' perceptions of sustainability and the strategies they are implementing for their farms to endure. Although these farmers are not formally aware of the concept of sustainability, they have several perceptions expressed through seven sustainability-related themes. The most frequently mentioned is the profitability of their agricultural activities (31% of responses). Three groups of perception were identified through a multiple component analysis (MCA) and an ascending hierarchical cluster (AHC) analysis: A combination of economic profitability and maintenance of the farm's natural resources (Environment); a combination of economic profitability and a capacity to seize opportunities (Profitability); and setting up a modern agricultural model (Modernism). Additionally, farmers implement three types of strategies to endure also identified through MCA and AHC analysis: (1) Income security and farm survival with low-intensity practices involving farmers with low levels of investment (Security); (2) adaptation and valorization of the flexibility of the farm, bringing together farmers who intensify their practices according to economic opportunities (Adaptation); and (3) quest for productivity and income maximization for farmers with high levels of capital (Entrepreneurship). A certain coherence emerges between these two ways of grouping farms: Environment and Security linked to threats related to the degradation of soil fertility or water scarcity; Profitability and Adaptation in relation to land and economic opportunities; and Modernism and Entrepreneurship, which links economic sustainability, a modern production model, and capital accumulation.

Mots-clés : durabilité; agriculture durable; exploitant agricole; système de production; participation des agriculteurs; rentabilité; maroc

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