Typology of small producers in transition to agroecological production
¹University of Cundinamarca, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, 18th Diagonal # 20-29, Fusagasuga, Colombia
²University of Tolima, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, Barrio Santa Helena, Ibague, Colombia
³Agrosavia. National Research Center of Agriculture, Nataima, Colombia
Agroecology is now emerging as the fundamental science to guide the conversion of conventional production systems to more diversified and self-sufficient systems. The agroecological transition is defined as the gradual change that farmers undergo to adapt and move from more conventional towards agroecological farming principles, encompassing technological, societal, institutional and organisational changes in the food system. To analyze a transition process, it is initially necessary to understand how agroecosystems work (their structure and processes), and the different ways human beings intervene an ecosystem in order to transform it for productive purposes.Farm systems typology and classification techniques are used to guide strategic lines of research, sectorial policies, and promote sustainable development in response to farmer’s needs. Determining multidimensional classification methods in agricultural systems is necessary, considering both the variables inherent to the production system and those of an external nature that indirectly impact the development and long-term sustainability of production systems. One of the purposes of this research was to characterize agricultural production based on sustainability systems and environmental, social, and economic indicators. The study was carried out based on data collected from 71 farm surveys, considering the social, economic, environmental, and technological dimensions. Multiple correspondence and cluster analysis were done. Three types of production systems were obtained: Group I, organic producers in transition; Group II, conventional producers in transition to organic production; and Group III, conventional producers interested in organic production. Producers need to focus on processes that allow them to improve their skills to develop human talent and social capital in terms of integration, collaborative work, trust, political and cultural capital, so that they can make progress easily and start implementing agroecological, infrastructure, and natural resources management practices, while improving their living standards. The information yielded by a typology process allows for us to know the current state of agricultural production systems based on the implementation of agroecological practices; thus facilitating the preparation and implementation of participatory plans and/or integrative proposals that promote agrofood sustainability.