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This paper first discusses how to use sustainability as a criterion by which to evaluate agricultural research, then illustrates the difficulties inherent in applying the criterion and finally draws implications for international agricultural research. Seven propositions relating to sustainability are stated. Agricultural researchers are urged to (a) recognize the importance of the sustainability of agricultural systems. (b) devise appropriate ways to measure sustainability, (c) empirically examine the sustainability of some well-defined cropping or farming systems, (d) define the externalities that exist in such systems, and (e) develop methods to measure those externalities.


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