Q. What is agricultural biodiversity?

A. Agricultural biodiversity includes the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, which sustain the functions, structure and processes of production systems. It also includes crop varieties, fodder and tree species, animal breeds, aquatic and marine species, soil biota, pollinators and the great diversity of non-domesticated (wild) species used by people. Agricultural biodiversity is created and managed by farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fishers, and remains essential to the lives of Indigenous Peoples and other small-scale food providers who produce and gather most of the world’s food.



Q. What is meant by small-scale farmers?

A. Small-scale farmers include family farmers, pastoralists, primary and small-scale producers, foresters, fisherfolk. Peasant is another term for small-scale farmer.


Q. What is industrial agriculture?

A. Industrial agriculture is an intensive, high-input, linear system focusing on increasing production and yields without regard for the environmental, social or health costs. The focus on production and yields leads to a focus on smaller number of crops, decreasing not only dietary diversity but the nutritional value of the diminished number of crops grown.[1] Furthermore, the environmental impact of these agricultural methods, in the long run, produces a greater cost than can possibly be sustained over time. Industrial agriculture is the single greatest user of freshwater resources on the planet and the greatest driver of biodiversity loss. Given its dependence on fossil fuels and agro-chemicals, agriculture is well-known as one of the greatest contributors to climate and land- use change.[2] Numerous problems underpin industrial agriculture’s ability to be truly sustainable in the long run, as synthetic pesticides and the use of monocultures remove soil-enriching nutrients and cause erosion to occur at a much faster rate. Water supplies are also being depleted, and antibiotics used in livestock impact the safety of water supply and the food that is consumed.


[1] Donald R Davis et al., Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999, 23 J. AM. COLL. NUTR. 669, 669–82 (June 18, 2013),

[2] Jonathan A. Foley et al., Solutions for a Cultivated Planet, 487 NATURE 337, 337–42 (Oct. 12, 2011).