Un article consacré à l'analyse des modèles agricoles permettant de parvenir à une agriculture durable. Comment les débats autour de ces modèles ont-ils évolué et sont-ils organisés aujourd'hui ? Quelle gestion de la transition privilégier de façon à permettre le développement d'alternatives face au modèle dominant ?
Points clés [en anglais] :
TOWARD SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE?
There is an increasingly common assumption that all kinds of agriculture will ultimately work together to achieve sustainability and that policies should not pit models against each other or choose between them. This leads many reports and researchers to advocate a “pick and choose” approach in which the best parts of all agricultural models will be taken on board, and together address sustainability challenges.
THE CONTINUED RELEVANCE OF AGRICULTURAL PARADIGMS
This assumption is highly problematic because it chooses to ignore fault lines and cleavages among agricultural models. Agricultural debates are still structured around opposing paradigms, which have evolved from an earlier opposition between conventional and alternative agriculture to the current agroecology vs new green revolution debates. These paradigms structure coherent discourses, yet their influence goes beyond the world of ideas. They are translated into investment decisions, in what and how farmers farm and how they market their products. As such we need to study, not ignore, these paradigms and their resilience.
THE NEED FOR TRANSITION MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
In terms of policy recommendation, this vision that "all agricultures are necessary for sustainability”, and that policies should not choose between models, is particularly dangerous as it negates the difference in financial resources, institutional support, and general path dependency that favours the incumbent model (or dominant regime) over its alternatives. Refusing to choose between models exposes us to the risk of de facto rooting for business as usual. Instead, we need policies that allow alternatives to develop and that actively manage transition toward sustainability.
AGRICULTURAL POLICIES REFORMS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT
Our two case studies (EU and Malawi) highlight the need for a reform in agricultural policies, yet we need to be aware that changes in agricultural policies will not be sufficient: to move away from business as usual in agriculture will require the involvement, and evolution, of the whole food system, from inputs producers and R&D down to consumers. This can only happen if we develop and support wide-reaching transition strategies.