This article points out the challenges to food security and agriculture and reveals how ESD plays an important role in education for sustainable agriculture. The current global financial turmoil is exacerbating concerns about rising food and fuel costs. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has termed this ‘the new face of hunger'. More than 850 million people are starving and the food crisis is even threatening the stability of already fragile democracies like Afghanistan. The dilemma between affluence and poverty is distinct taken into consideration that the main problem is not the lack of food, but the surge of food prices which makes basic sustenance unaffordable for millions. At the same time the world population continues to grow. Food production needs to rise by 50% by the year 2030 to meet the needs of population growth and changes in consumption patterns. The tendency is clear: the more countries have economic development, the more they consume animal protein. However, meat production is a major source of greenhouse gases and the typical land use attached to it is generally inefficient and prone to cause soil degradation. Resource use related to agriculture and food production is highly unsustainable. Agriculture is still the most common occupation globally. Thus attention is needed in linking education and food security. Knowledge of the current state can lead to empowerment of people to take responsibility for their actions which is one of the primary aims of ESD. The thrusts of the ESD are providing and improving quality basic education, re-orienting existing education programmes, building public understanding and awareness and providing practical training. ESD brings sustainable issues to the forefront, and uses that perspective to address educational change which enables everyone to adapt behaviours and make informed decisions that can contribute to a sustainable future. ESD aims to provide all learners with support to develop skills to adapt to changing food security needs in their local context—for example, to seek out innovative farming methods and change consumption patterns. Today's agricultural and trade practices are failing to feed the poor and have detrimental effects on the environment. Current cultivation of ‘cash crops’ such as cotton and coffee for export purposes contribute to the prevalence of food insecurity and create a strain on the ecosystem. These practices need to be re-considered with the holistic approach to education and development that ESD advocates. It seeks to enable individuals to view issues of food security as connected to their personal choices. For example through incorporating Education for Sustainable Development in vocational education programmes and agricultural practices, farmers can be transformed into ‘farmers of tomorrow’ who are better able to safeguard our ecosystems and preserve them for future generations. The way to this is exchanges in expertise between indigenous knowledge and future farmers. Community knowledge of local contexts must be integrated into sustainable approaches in order to address local needs and opportunities for farmers on maximizing agricultural production on a larger scale.
Sustainable agriculture (SA) plays an important role in constructing, maintaining, and improving a sustainable society. In this paper, I review the numerous definitions of SA proposed by several organizations throughout the world and present some common components and problems. I then introduce some elements from the first comprehensive report on sustainability in Japan, which was published by Research on the Scientific Basis for Sustainability. Finally, I emphasize that many serious problems and conflicts remain to be solved.
One of the main purposes of studying, working, and living abroad is to learn about the customs and culture of the host country in order to further international understanding. It is in part the responsibility of the institutions concerned to provide foreigners with a variety of opportunities to experience new ways of life. On the other hand, foreigners also should be determined to use such chances to become a part of the new society. It will be of no worth if a foreigner's life is limited to the campus and working area and he or she goes back home without having entered a Japanese house or experienced the Japanese life style. Needless to say, it is not right to expect everything to be supplied by the hosts. Foreigners themselves should make an effort to create such opportunities through their direct individual or group contact with the surrounding communities. We should utilize all possibilities to communicate with each other, share our experiences, care about and come to know each other. Finally, this should be used as an opportunity to break down barriers, leading us toward a more peaceful life based on mutual respect and understanding.
Various definitions and methods of sustainable agricultural development have been proposed and implemented. In general, sustainable agricultural development is focused on agricultural activities that are environmentally friendly and financially meet the needs of community welfare, and its applied technologies are socially accepted by farmers. This paper describes the direction and current status of education, research, and extension programs focused on sustainable agriculture at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. Our findings are based on content analysis of the last 10 years of secondary data collected and tabulated from the offices of academic affairs, research, and extension services, as well as faculties and departments. Core Scientific Model (pola ilmiah pokok) of Bogor Agricultural University is a guiding principle in the implementation of the Three Duties or Three Functions (Tridharma) of Higher Education in Indonesia, which consist of education, research, and community service. Because the university's Core Scientific Model is a sustainable agricultural system, the academic curricula should take into account sustainability in courses on agricultural development. Some undergraduate and graduate courses, such as the course on “Systems of Sustainable Agriculture”, explicitly describe sustainable agriculture, whereas other courses, such as “Ecology of Tropical Forests”, are more closely related to ecology and consider achieving an environmental balance as an important factor in utilizing natural resources. Most courses at the university consider the terms environment and sustainable. Some new graduate-level courses more comprehensively examine sustainable agricultural development, while considering the ethical, moral, and political implications of utilizing natural resources for agricultural development. Research conducted and written by Bogor Agricultural University students as final assignments (undergraduate students) or theses and dissertations (graduate students) are easily accessible in the main library. Among the 23,000 undergraduate projects, few comprehensively describe sustainable agriculture, but instead generally discuss only one aspect of sustainability (e.g., environmental friendliness, economic feasibility, social acceptability). Among the 8375 thesis titles, only five dealt with sustainable agriculture research, 64 discussed two elements of sustainability (environment and economic or economic and social aspect), and the rest did not explicitly discuss sustainability. From among the 1287 dissertation titles, only 28 dissertations analyzed sustainable agriculture comprehensively and quantitatively investigated the three elements of sustainability. Ecological and environmental topics were given detailed examinations in 124 dissertations, whereas 1135 dissertations focused on other topics, especially technology, modeling, and characterizing points of view. The lecturers or educational staff of Bogor Agricultural University have not necessarily carried out research on sustainable agriculture. Such studies are conducted only when proposals are approved and funded by competitive funding agencies. Nevertheless, 1506 final reports have been successfully written. Fisheries and marine science (13%) and animal husbandry (12%) studies accounted for the highest number of research projects conducted, whereas environmental pollution mitigation and natural resource conservation studies accounted for about 7%. The remaining studies were specific to agriculture: crop culture (10%), biotechnology (9%), technology development (9%), and other topics (1%-4%). (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
The historical development of Japanese Universities can be divided into the following 5 periods: Period 1 (1868-1918); Period 2 (1918-1945); Period 3 (1945-1991); Period 4 (1991-2004); and Period 5 (2004- Present). The developmental processes of the higher agricultural education system in each period are described in the present manuscript. Furthermore, analysis of the undergraduate curriculum between 1983-2007 has been conducted using Ag-Base, a database created at the Agricultural and Forestry Research Center, University of Tsukuba. The Ag-Base covers all 581,991 lecture courses offered at 53 agricultural universities in Japan between 1983-2007. Results of the analysis using Ag-Base showed clear changes in the curriculum structure at agricultural universities in Japan during the past 15 years.
Since its founding in 1909, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has focused its instruction and its research and development (R & D) activities on developing component technologies to support national agriculture programs and government productivity goals. In the last decade, R & D at the UPLB College of Agriculture (UPLBCA) has focused on the accumulation of knowledge on environmentally benign component technologies and methodologies that will increase the efficiency of applied inputs in crop production. The UPLB Graduate School currently has 906 students enrolled in 92 graduate degree programs, including PhD programs. The most popular programs in terms of numbers of students are Environmental Science, Development Management, Community Development, Development Communications, Forestry, Agriculture, and Agricultural Economics. At the undergraduate level, the current Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) program, with sustainable agriculture (SA) as the overall philosophy, was first implemented in 1997. It aims to educate students in science-based agriculture, giving them a holistic understanding of agricultural sustainability, and to prepare them as socially committed professionals. An innovation in the present BSA curriculum is allowing students to choose among a thesis, major (farm) practice, research internship, extension and community internship, teaching, and agricultural entrepreneurship. UPLBCA's shift from mainstream to SA was not an easy task. At the national level, SA is not the mainstream model of agricultural development, because trade policies support liberalization of trade in agriculture, which reinforces the primacy of the market-driven agriculture that rewards short-term productivity gains rather than long-term sustainable production. At the university level, advocates of SA have to face various forces, problems, and obstacles encompassing the emotional and personal, institutional, administrative, policy-based, and funding-driven, and scientific biases. Looking forward, UPLBCA is continuously fine-tuning and enriching its curricula towards SA. It has also explored the possibility of offering other integrative fields in the BSA curriculum, such as agricultural systems (including policy formulation and analyses), agroforestry, urban/peri-urban SA, and environmental agriculture.
Agriculture in the 21st century faces the daunting task of satisfying the unceasingly increasing demand for food in a context of continuous depletion of natural resources and the need to respect international environmental standards. Among the alternatives to conventional agriculture developed in this context, symbiotic fungal association with crops shows considerable promise because of its effectiveness, habit-specific mode of action, and ability to provide multiple benefits. Known as endophytism, this association represents a new area of research based on the benefits of mutualistic interactions between host crops and nonpathogenic fungi. The advantages conferred by endophytic fungi include their ability to promote plant growth and tolerance of both abiotic stresses (e.g., salt, drought, heat) and biotic stresses (e.g., insects, plant diseases). As such, the practical applications of endophytes as potential sources of bioorganic nutrients and as biocontrol agents can significantly improve yields in an environmentally sound way. Moreover, the ability of fungal endophytes to improve plant tolerance of salt, drought, and heat stress make it possible to grow crops on previously uncultivable land. Thus, fungal endophytes should be included among alternative modern technologies to support food production.
The interface between student research and education is best exemplified in the studies done by students as part of the requirement for graduation. With the implementation of the revised Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) at UPLB-CA in 1997, professional practice options to thesis research as requirement for graduation had been expanded to include: major (farm) practice, research internship, extension/community internship, teaching and agricultural entrepreneurship. Since the implementation of the BSA curriculum, more and more BSA undergraduate students majoring in Crop Science (particularly in Agronomy) had opted for extension/community internship or major (farm) practice from 24 in SY 1989-1996 to 103 SY 1997- SY 2008 and had conducted on-farm research, case documentation and analyses of local practices and adaptation of sustainable agriculture practices at both farmer and community level, including indigenous communities in various parts of the Philippines. Many indigenous knowledge systems are ecologically sound and its contribution in enriching scientific and technical knowledge on sustainable agriculture cannot be overemphasized. Some of the students' outputs include indigenous agricultural practices of indigenous people focusing on indigenous practices for genetic conservation, farm diversification as a common strategy used by all tribes to ensure household food security and pest management, seeds storage using local materials are effective means of conservation and the indigenous people use practical indicators on site selection, determination of fertile soils, appropriate seeds/planting materials and practices that have sound scientific (such as seed rejuvenation, seed storage) and has ecological basis (such as nutrient recycling, pest management, soil and water conservation and fallow period). Similarly at the post-graduate level, there were students who have had conducted their MSc thesis on indigenous seed management, knowledge and rice production practices of the Maranaos in Lanao del Sur, seed management of a Manuvú community in Mindanao, and documentation of farmer's approaches in the conversion process from conventional to sustainable agriculture. Some key findings of these studies include economic and environmental considerations as the major reasons farmer convert from conventional to sustainable agriculture, input substitution done in small parcels of land is adopted to minimize risk of failure and also allows farmers to gain experience and gradually expand the practice to their farm; and building up farm resources is essential in the conversion process. These students' outputs have enriched the knowledge base on sustainable agriculture technologies in the areas of seed conservation, storage, rejuvenation, and utilization, soil and water conservation, diversification strategies, nutrient recycling, fallowing and pest management. This knowledge base has been used by faculty in the courses that they are teaching at the University. The challenge of adopting and implementing sustainable agriculture is that it is culture and location specific. Researchers learn to develop approaches in working with indigenous people recognizing that their experience of survival in marginal conditions has great contribution in development strategies and in building and strengthening some indigenous knowledge and practices.
The educational objective of the study program for watershed management (SPWM) at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) is to develop professionalism and deepen graduates' understanding of basic, applied and advanced sciences so that they may: a) identify watershed characteristics and functional linkages of the components, b) identify problems in watershed systems, c) formulate integrated watershed management plans to increase productivity, stability and sustainabilty of natural resources, and d) carry out both interdisciplinary and highly specialized research (IPB, 2008). The main competencies required of graduates of the master of science program are: (a) capability to manage watersheds through problem identification and quantification of land management issues in watershed areas (i.e., floods, droughts, erosion and sedimentation, reduction of land productivity), (b) capability to identify and measure the effect of watershed management strategies and techniques designed to overcome problems stemming from the misuse of land resources, and (c) capability to design sustainable watershed managment plans. For doctorate programs, the target competency is the ability to identify and answer gaps in scientific knowledge so as to improve the planning and application of strategic watershed management for maintaining sustainable watershed resources. Integrated watershed management and sustainable agriculture are explicitly described in the curriculum of SPWM through subjects that include: soil and water conservation; analysis of hydrological systems; land use planning; sustainable agricultural systems; water resource planning; watershed management; and watershed management technology, strategy, and policy. The majority of research efforts have been directed at maintaining and increasing watershed functions to support the dynamics of life, incorporating ecological, economic, and social dimensions. Projects have been designed to: (a) select soil and water conservation technologies (site specific), (b) explore several indigenous integrated conservation farming systems, (c) study land use change, (d) design watershed management plans, (e) minimize flooding (magnitude and frequency), (f) increase water availability (spatially and temporally), (g) estimate the effects of floods and flood mitigation, (h) increase and develop institutional roles in watershed management, and (i) develop and apply hydrological and erosion models. Sustainability indicators examined in these research programs have included enhanced farmer outcomes (economic viability), increased adoption of technology by farmers using locally available resources (technologically appropriate), and no significant degradation of natural resources (ecologically friendly).
Ticks are exoparasites of mammals and important pests of livestock. Presently, tick control depends on use of acaricides and pesticides commonly used in integrated pest management. Despite a low efficacy for the control of ticks, these chemicals provide great advantages to livestock production. However, overuse results in the development of ticks resistant to these pest control agents. Therefore, development of alternative ways for sustainable livestock production is required. A knowledge of tick ecology and physiology is important for the development of strategies for integrated tick management. Tick molting and reproduction require blood feeding and are under endocrinological regulation. Ecdysteroids regulate tick molting and reproduction by combining with an ecdysteroid receptor (EcR). Ecdysteroid agonists are used in control of insects but these agonists are not effective against ticks. Studies on the regulation of molting and reproduction in ticks may provide effective tick control strategies leading to development of sustainable livestock production.
Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would contribute substantially to the mitigation of global warming. Conversely, the progression of global warming influences agriculture. Farmers need to adapt to the changing climate according to their particular agricultural situation. Sustainability of the global environment is essential for agriculture and human life, but there remain several problems regarding the time scale of sustainability. To solve these problems, we must estimate the adaptive capacity of the Earth for irreversible impacts of global warming. Gaining an understanding of the “big picture”, which will allow quantitative objectives for coping with global warming to be established, is currently the toppriority task of the natural sciences.
The objective of this study was to apply the River Diagram Model to enhance the core competencies of organic rice growers. The population was rice growers living in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, the most important rice growing area in the Southern Thailand. Six rice farmers were selected by interview. The first three steps of the River Model including the Self-Assessment Table, the River Diagram and the Stairs Diagram were used. Rice growers were asked to evaluate themselves against the core competency criteria based on a five-rating scale assessment form. The information obtained was plotted in the River Diagram and the Stairs Diagram. The result showed that the River Diagram could distinguish the levels of each core competency among farmers. The Stairs Diagram is effective in categorize farmers who have something to share and those who have something to learn in some certain core competencies. The River Diagram Model, therefore, can be applied to design the appropriate technology transfer for the enhancement of sustainable core competencies among organic rice growers.