In State of the World 2011, Innovations that Nourish the Planet, the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org) presents an alternative vision for food production. There is sufficient worldwide experience with agroecological farming — including practices such as organic farming, agroforestry, conservation agriculture and evergreen agriculture — to demonstrate a workable alternative. Using conservation tillage and crop rotations, for example, some 350,000 Zambian farmers have improved yields 30 to 100 per cent. In Malawi, farmers who substituted “fertilizer trees” for mineral fertilizers tripled their yields, from as little as 0.5 tonnes per acre to 3.5 tonnes above the world average.
One major study reported in the book looked at 286 agroecological projects covering 37 million hectares in 57 countries. The average yield gain over previous practices was 79 per cent. These methods also showed a measurable improvement in biodiversity.