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Sustainable Agriculture in Britain: Recent achievements and new policy challenges

Jules Pretty, Rupert Howes

Report/paper, 73 pages

For some 50 years, British agricultural policy has actively encouraged farmers to produce more food. Farmers have been remarkably successful, using more external inputs to get high outputs of food. But narrow policy goals have brought hidden costs to farmers and the wider society. Now rural areas are characterised by widespread poverty and lack of economic opportunity, combined with growing concerns over damage to environmental resources. This paper draws on emerging evidence from Britain, Third World countries and the USA to suggest that there exists an economically and environmentally viable alternative to both industrialised and organic agriculture.

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