Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.1144.1 - 9.1144.13
Sustainable Development: Intercropping for Agricultural Production
Saeed D. Foroudastan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Olivia Dees, Research Assistant
Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies Department Middle Tennessee State University
The damaging effects of monoculture threaten the sustainability of our world. Genetic engineering, or biotechnology, gravely endangers the future integrity of genes with possible unforeseen mutations. For example, Monsanto has created a terminator technology that will not allow farmers to reproduce their own plants from secondary seeds. This minimizes the diversity of plant crop varieties by which farmers have relied upon for centuries. Biotechnology may thereby cause irreparable damage to the sustainability of the world’s food supply. Although all biotechnology is not wrongful, most genetically engineered crops are potentially so dangerous that even insurance companies will not cover farmers that use them.
Furthermore, the introduction of patent clone seeds will undermine the ability of rural farmers to compete for survival by raising prices on conventional seeds. This corners decision making into acceptance of the same crop cultivation. Environmental effects are devastating as more pesticides and herbicides are used for these plants, and resistant pests may abound.
In addition, exponential population growth in cities presents the problem of land availability. The trick is to make the maximum use of space while balancing the environment. The beauty of intercropping is that many types exist so that specialization for different climates and terrain may be applied to a particular region. Research shows successful results with intercropping. Organic farmers often have superior net cash returns, making it a feasible option for mass production.
Finally, environmental engineers need to know their roles in sustainable development. There are many resources that university professors can use to teach students and/ or prospective students in engineering about agriculture including textbooks and ASEE’s website. Sustainable development is a hot topic in many engineering programs and intercropping is one component of it that should not be overlooked.
Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education
Dees, O., & Foroudastan, S. (2004, June), Sustainable Development: Intercropping For Agricultural Production Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/12709
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