Matching Items (2)

150124-Thumbnail Image.png

Environmental sustainability and conventional agriculture: an assessment of maize monoculture in Sinaloa, Mexico using multicriteria decision analysis and network analysis

Description

Sinaloa, a coastal state in the northwest of Mexico, is known for irrigated conventional agriculture, and is considered one of the greatest successes of the Green Revolution. With the neoliberal

Sinaloa, a coastal state in the northwest of Mexico, is known for irrigated conventional agriculture, and is considered one of the greatest successes of the Green Revolution. With the neoliberal reforms of the 1990s, Sinaloa farmers shifted out of conventional wheat, soy, cotton, and other commodities and into white maize, a major food staple in Mexico that is traditionally produced by millions of small-scale farmers. Sinaloa is now a major contributor to the national food supply, producing 26% of total domestic white maize production. Research on Sinaloa's maize has focused on economic and agronomic components. Little attention, however, has been given to the environmental sustainability of Sinaloa's expansion in maize. With uniquely biodiverse coastal and terrestrial ecosystems that support economic activities such as fishing and tourism, the environmental consequences of agriculture in Sinaloa are important to monitor. Agricultural sustainability assessments have largely focused on alternative agricultural approaches, or espouse alternative philosophies that are biased against conventional production. Conventional agriculture, however, provides a significant portion of the world's calories. In addition, incentives such as federal subsidies and other institutions complicate transitions to alternative modes of production. To meet the agricultural sustainability goals of food production and environmental stewardship, we must put conventional agriculture on a more sustainable path. One step toward achieving this is structuring agricultural sustainability assessments around achievable goals that encourage continual adaptations toward sustainability. I attempted this in my thesis by assessing conventional maize production in Sinaloa at the regional/state scale using network analysis and incorporating stakeholder values through a multicriteria decision analysis approach. The analysis showed that the overall sustainability of Sinaloa maize production is far from an ideal state. I made recommendations on how to improve the sustainability of maize production, and how to better monitor the sustainability of agriculture in Sinaloa.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

150171-Thumbnail Image.png

An analysis of biochar's appropriateness and strategic action plan for its adoption and diffusion in a high poverty context: the case of central haiti

Description

Haiti has witnessed high deforestation rates in recent decades, caused largely by the fuel needs of a growing population. The resulting soil loss is estimated to have contributed towards a

Haiti has witnessed high deforestation rates in recent decades, caused largely by the fuel needs of a growing population. The resulting soil loss is estimated to have contributed towards a decline in agricultural productivity of 0.5% -1.2% per year since 1997. Recent studies show the potential of biochar use through pyrolysis technology to increase crop yields and improve soil health. However, the appropriateness of this technology in the context of Haiti remains unexplored. The three objectives of this research were to identify agricultural- and fuel-use-related needs and gaps in rural Haitian communities; determine the appropriateness of biochar pyrolyzer technology, used to convert agricultural biomass into a carbon-rich charcoal; and develop an action-oriented plan for use by development organizations, communities, and governmental institutions to increase the likelihood of adoption. Data were collected using participatory rural appraisal techniques involving 30 individual interviews and three focus-group discussions in the villages of Cinquantin and La Boule in the La Coupe region of central Haiti. Topics discussed include agricultural practices and assets, fuel use and needs, technology use and adoption, and social management practices. The Sustainable Livelihoods framework was used to examine the assets of households and the livelihood strategies being employed. Individual and focus group interviews were analyzed to identify specific needs and gaps. E.M. Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations theory was used to develop potential strategies for the introduction of pyrolysis technology. Preliminary results indicate biochar pyrolysis has potential to address agricultural and fuel needs in rural Haiti. Probable early adopters of biochar technology include households that have adopted new agricultural techniques in the past, and those with livestock. Education about biochar, and a variety of pyrolysis technology options from which villagers may select, are important factors in successful adoption of biochar use. A grain mill as an example in one of the study villages provides a model of ownership and use of pyrolysis technology that may increase its likelihood of successful adoption. Additionally, women represent a group that may be well suited to control a new local biochar enterprise, potentially benefiting the community.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011