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Future tasks for agriculture

By M. Rist

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The paper argues that efforts should be made to transform current trends in civilization into cultural development and that with respect to agriculture, the present technical age with open linear production methods should be transformed into a future biological one with closed cycles. A biological approach to farming and forestry can be divided into three objectives: food supply, natural resource supply and energy supply. To increase net agricultural production in terms of quality and quantity to achieve such objectives requires the reduction of losses, ending of wasteful habits and expansion of arable lands. Biological methods of cultivation will therefore increase in importance as they improve product quality and decrease the use of outside energy, and animal and poultry farming will no longer focus on mass production. Apart from the production of food and raw materials, livestock farming will become increasingly important for supplying balanced fertilizer qualities. Although a utopian vision, changes must be made to incorporate ethical principles in the world economy. Agriculture must be rationalized; subsidization of industrial countries' farming only deals with the symptoms rather than the causes of the dilemma: the widening gap between farm and non-farm incomes. Fair (parity-based) agricultural prices would be a means of paving the way for the necessary investments to improve agricultural production worldwide. To act ethically, cartels must take steps to harmonize prices within their own sectors as well as to obtain fair price and income structures among cartels.

Date 1988
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural Ethics
Volume 1
Issue 2
Pages 101-107
Language English
Author Address Institute of Animal Science, Physiology and Hygiene Group, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zentrum, 8092, Zurich, Switzerland.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Alternative methods
  3. Animal roles
  4. Change
  5. Ethics
  6. Nutrition
  7. Policy and Planning