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Sustainability, Ecuador, Agriculture, Subsistence
Small-scale agriculture is the primary source of food for the majority of the developing world. It is a vital component of the total global land usage for agricultural production, and sustaining and improving subsistence farms is critical for meeting global food demand as well as maintaining the integrity of agro-ecological systems. Due to the important role that smallholder farmers play in global agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN developed the Smallholder Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems App (SAFA), a 100-question survey tool created for simplicity and wide-reaching applicability. SAFA is flexible in nature in that it can be applied to any farming system across any region. Due to the far-reaching potential influence of SAFA, it is significant that it be both relevant and feasible to utilize in a broad variety of contexts. We used the SAFA app to survey four subsistence farms throughout various rural ecosystems in Ecuador. We then evaluated each question based on its relevance and feasibility in its specific context. The goal of this project was to evaluate the use and utility of the SAFA Smallholder Tool in characterizing sustainability of smallholder farms in Ecuador. Specifically, the study evaluates and compares the data gathering process, the model output, and the perceived quality of the survey tool across multiple farms in contrasting productions systems. The results of this research can be used to further refine and improve the SAFA app for future use. To evaluate the survey, each member of our research team rated every question on a 0-5 scale for both relevance and feasibility, as well as offering qualitative feedback for the whole survey. We found that while the majority of the SAFA questions were both relevant as well as feasible, the survey contained several questions that were irrelevant, as well as some that were relevant, but difficult to answer for a variety of reasons. Overall, the nature of the survey as a global tool means that it is at risk of being too general to accurately measure sustainability if not adapted to local contexts. Finally, we proposed several recommendations for improving the survey.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Allred, Carter D.; Boman, H. L.; Clawson, S. J.; Freestone, C. A.; Hockett, S. N.; Holden, C. A.; Phipps, E. R.; Quigley, C. N.; Rupard, M. M.; and Hansen, N. C., "Effectiveness of the Smallholder Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems App for Subsistence Farm Systems in Ecuador" (2019). Library/Life Sciences Undergraduate Poster Competition 2019. 7.
Plant and Wildlife Sciences
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