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      A Review of the Agroecological Farming System as a Viable Alternative Food Production Approach in South Africa

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          Abstract

          Input-intensive production systems characterise industrial agriculture as an unsustainable means to address food and nutrition security and sustainable livelihoods. Extensive empirical evidence supports the diversification and reorientation of industrial agriculture and incorporates ecological practices, viewed as essential for achieving balanced and productive farming systems. An agroecological farming system is a viable alternative approach that can improve food production, especially for the most vulnerable communities and households. Furthermore, substantial proof and supporting evidence show that such a system is key to increasing dietary diversity at the local level and reducing the multiple health and environmental risks stemming from industrial agriculture. This paper, therefore, aims to demonstrate the benefits of the agroecology food system through an evidenced-based approach that shows how the broader agricultural network structures can play a meaningful role, particularly for impoverished households in today's reality. The methodology is centred on a structured literature review that analyses urban agriculture, agroecology andfood insecurity. Notably, ground-truthing, practical experiences and field observation of agroecological farming were deployed. This paper emphasises the practical application of the agroecological approach in urban and peri-urban settings. Several evaluation reports on local and provincial initiatives show that very few households engage in food gardens and urban agriculture. These households do not use their backyards or nearby open spaces for several reasons, such as stringent city by-laws, restricted access to land, little or no knowledge of innovative or alternative farming practices, and a general lack of interest. Furthermore, limited resources such as water and energy and lack of capacity building and training implementation are additional constraints hampering small-scale food gardens and farms in other settings. The Agroecology systems approach is viewed as one of the key solutions to tackling these problems.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          sajae
          South African Journal of Agricultural Extension
          S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext.
          South African Society of Agricultural Extension (SASAE) (Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa )
          0301-603X
          2413-3221
          2023
          : 51
          : 2
          : 43-67
          Affiliations
          [02] orgnameUniversity of Johannesburg orgdiv1Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment emuchesa@ 123456uj.ac.za
          [01] orgnameUniversity of Johannesburg orgdiv1Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment orgdiv2Centre for Agroecological Intelligence michaelr@ 123456uj.ac.za
          Article
          S0301-603X2023000200002 S0301-603X(23)05100200002
          10.17159/2413-3221/2023/v51n2a12755
          f69619c9-47e0-4770-8c18-3c58cd31608b

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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          Page count
          Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 0, Pages: 25
          Product

          SciELO South Africa

          Categories
          Articles

          Agroecology Biodiversity,Capacity-building,Farming,Food Security,Food Systems,Agriculture,Peri-Urban,Urban

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