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.


En los Andes, la agroecología se promueve a través de proyectos de desarrollo rural que comúnmente trabajan con agrobiodiversidad, poblaciones tradicionales y la promoción de cadenas de valor. Los estudios comparativos con encuestas de hogares son herramientas útiles para entender la situación en hogares agroecológicos y no agroecológicos, o participantes...
Belgium - Peru
Documentaries on the Best Practices in Rural Development carried out by young farmers that have been granted support under EU Rural development policies.
This training aims to train future French speaking professionals in terms of control and certification in organic farming. At total 20 people are expected to attend this training from West African countries. The training is provided entirely in French. The trainees will learn how to conduct an organic farming control operation...
This video depicts the first session of the second day of the regional consultation on ‘’Engaging with Academia and Research Institutions (ARIs) to support Family Farmers and Food System Transformation during and post COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia’’ held on  8 and 9 December 2021.  The session on 'Enhancing rural communities’ initiatives and development,...
While family farms produce more than 80 per cent of the world's food, they are often the ones most at risk of climate and economic shocks. Crop diversification and sustainable agricultural practices can improve livelihoods and make food systems more resilient.  Marta Segovia, a family farmer and community leader from Colonia Porvenir, Goya, Corrientes in Argentina was recognized as...