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Stages for the More Sustainable Farm

By Ana Alexandra Marta-Costa and A. Poeta

Abstract

Currently, agricultural farm units are faced with a double and most times contradictory challenge, in order to be successful: on the one hand the invested capital has to be profitable and the economic performance has to be maximised. On the other hand, given the socio-environmental situation, it is necessary to preserve and to protect the environment and natural resources. Given the potential conflict of the two aims, since the satisfaction of one implies the underperformance of the other (and vice versa), the question then is: which is the solution to choose? We intend, in this work, to formulate a farm plan with the purpose of reconciling the criteria of environmental sustainability with that of economic competitiveness. For this achievement we proceed to the comparative study of sustainability of different groups of farms identified in the study area (first evaluation cycle) through MESMIS (“Marco para la Evaluación de Sistemas de Manejo de Recursos Naturales Mediante Indicadores de Sustentabilidad” - Framework for Evaluation of Natural-Resource Systems Handling through Sustainability Indicators) methodology, that allowed to select the more sustainable group of farms. Based on the found potentialities and weakness on these production systems, we stepped to the planning of a production unit of bovine meat, which obeys simultaneously to economic and environmental objectives, using Multicriteria Decision. We finished the work with the sustainability evaluation between groups of farms identified previously and the planned farms (second evaluation cycle), based, again, in the MESMIS methodology, to confirm (or not) the greatest sustainability of the last ones. Analyses of the results allow us to confirm the greatest relative sustainability of the planned farm, for the diverse traced scenarios.Decision taking, planning, sustainability, Environmental Economics and Policy, Farm Management,

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