Autonomy and sustainability: An integrated analysis of the development of new approaches to agrosystem management in family-based farming in Carnaubais Territory, Piauí, Brazil
This paper seeks to analyze an endogenous development scheme implemented by farming families, involving innovations in the organic production of watermelons; this was a novel local initiative reflecting the creative drive of the farmers themselves, against a background marked by considerable political and institutional uncertainty. The scheme was evaluated in terms of a set of systemic properties measured by multidimensional indicators for farming systems. Data on the selected indicators were collected by field observations, monitoring of production units, and direct semi-structured interviews with farmers. In general terms, the innovations prompted improvements in the various components of extensive environmental and social sustainability, enabling a more sustainable land use through chemical, physical and biological improvements to the soil in the farming systems studied, ensuring increased incomes and the maintenance of family employment, strengthening the farmers’ resources and improving their control over resources, and reducing the degree of dependency in relations between the farming unit and the broader context.
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