Agroecology Knowledge Hub

Efficiency : innovative agroecological practices produce more using less external resources

Increased resource-use efficiency is an emergent property of agroecological systems that carefully plan and manage diversity to create synergies between different system components. For example, a key efficiency challenge is that less than 50 percent of nitrogen fertilizer added globally to cropland is converted into harvested products and the rest is lost to the environment causing major environmental problems.

Agroecological systems improve the use of natural resources, especially those that are abundant and free, such as solar radiation, atmospheric carbon and nitrogen. By enhancing biological processes and recycling biomass, nutrients and water, producers are able to use fewer external resources, reducing costs and the negative environmental impacts of their use. Ultimately, reducing dependency on external resources empowers producers by increasing their autonomy and resilience to natural or economic shocks.

One way to measure the efficiency of integrated systems is by using Land Equivalent Ratios (LER). LER compares the yields from growing two or more components (e.g. crops, trees, animals) together with yields from growing the same components in monocultures. Integrated agroecological systems frequently demonstrate higher LERs.

Agroecology thus promotes agricultural systems with the necessary biological, socio-economic and institutional diversity and alignment in time and space to support greater efficiency.

Database

FAO and Civil Society Organizations are presenting the Webinar ''An introduction to the Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE): Metrics for Sustainable Food and Agriculture'' on 12 and 15 November 2021. FAO in dialogue with Civil Society Organisations and academia developed a global analytical framework for the multidimensional assessment of the performance...
Event
2021
FAO has recently partnered with the organization IN SITU to measure the impact of agroecology through the Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE) in 60 farms surrounding Rosario City in the State of Santa Fe, Argentina. The results of that assessment and their connection to public policies for territorial development will...
Argentina
Event
2021
23 and 24 February 2022  | 13:00 –17:30 CEST Pollination is a fundamental ecosystem service for plant reproduction, agricultural production and the maintenance of terrestrial biodiversity. Almost 90 per cent of the world’s flowering plants are pollinated by insects and other animals, and it is estimated that about one-third of the global food...
Event
2022
The first generation of the professionalizing Master in Agroecology will be welcomed with the symposium "Directions and Frontiers of Agroecology as a Transdiscipline" promoted by the College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR), the Latin American Scientific Society for Agroecology (SOCLA) and La Via Campesina. To connect to this virtual inauguration symposium,...
Event
2022
The FAO Africa Gender Team is pleased to invite you to this year's virtual International Women's Day celebration, which will be taking place on 9 March, from 10:00-11:30 AM GMT. The virtual celebration will highlight how peasant and indigenous women are actively promoting healthy food systems through agroecology, regenerative approaches...
Senegal - Uganda - Zambia - Zimbabwe
Event
2022