This paper examines the evolution of agriculture and its relationship with the environment, through the various phases of its development. It traces man's food- gathering and food-producing activities through various phases of cultural advancement, up to the present time, identifying their impacts on the environment. In each phase of advancement the paper examines the influence of population growth, and science and technology on the evolution of agricultural practice. With the aid of science agriculture has become quite efficient, but still is not without some negative repercussions to the environment (Carson, 1962). For the future, agriculture has to become even more efficient, given projected increases in population. This expository paper notes, though, that growth in agriculture cannot be expected to increase without limits, in view of environmental constraints. Growth therefore has to mean more than just a quantitative increase. The challenge then, is to fashion a meaning of growth consistent with the limits of the natural system and, for food production systems to meet the needs of burgeoning populations in a manner which will not excessively degrade the ecology' which supports them. To meet this challenge, the paper identifies changes we need to make: in the way we apply science to solve problems in agriculture, in our approach to policy formulation and, in the way we organize institutional response to meet future challenges.

Issue Date:
Jul 31 1994
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:

 Record created 2017-07-07, last modified 2018-01-23

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