Seeds of sustainability? : A case study on agricultural sustainability perceptions among small-scale farmers in the Manyara region, Tanzania

University essay from Umeå universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Agricultural policies worldwide are giving an increased focus to the goal of sustainable agriculture, but there are still uncertainties around how this is performed and achieved. As small-scale farmers are a fundamental part of agricultural production worldwide, earlier scholars request deeper understanding of how these farmers perceive sustainable agriculture and how they perceive the pathway towards sustainability. In Tanzania, many small-scale farmers choose to participate in initiatives and organizations under the Organic Farming Movement. By focusing on small-scale farmers that have joined an organic initiative in the Manyara region in Tanzania, this study aims to interpret how these farmers perceive that joining the Organic initiative of a local seed trading system could contribute to sustainable agriculture for them. The study's theoretical approach was a framework where agricultural sustainability consists of an ecological, economic, and social dimension and that normative assumptions of sustainability can be divided into either an Environmentalist or Ecologist approach. Through an open-ended question survey, ten local farmers' perceptions of agricultural sustainability were collected. The result indicates that the farmers perceive that the local seed trading system to some extent will contribute to parts of all three dimensions of agricultural sustainability, and that normative assumptions in both Environmentalism and Ecologism can be identified within the farmer's answers.

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