ture such that only industrial-scale agriculture, in-tensive or semi-intensive, can often meet this re-quirement (Rivera-Ferre 2009). Especially in devel-oping countries, industrial agriculture directed to- wards export markets is being actively promotedand supported by international development andfinancial institutions as a way to obtain foreign ex-change earnings, reimburse external debt, and pro-mote development (Lewis et al 2003; FAO 2006; Armitage 2002). Although this presumed “benefit”is oftentimes debatable (Lipton 1977; Byres 2004),the ability of industrial-scale terrestrial agricultureto generate income for the exporting country andsupport jobs, especially for the poor, is generally ac-cepted (FAO 2011). Figure 2 shows that an increasein agricultural growth has a stronger, more positiveimpact on the income of the poor than does anequivalent increase in non-agricultural growth.
Percentage of household budget spent on food by thelowest expenditure quintile of the population. Source: FAO Ru-ral Income Generating Activities project (2011)
Moreover, Figure 3 implies how cheap food pricesfrom industrial-scale terrestrial agriculture benefitespecially the poor since, on a household level, they are the ones who spend an already large majority of their income on food (FAO 2011).Finally, although usually portrayed and perceived ashaving negative environmental impacts, industrial-scale terrestrial agriculture can also produce positiveecosystem services, if managed appropriately, e.g.flood control, wildlife habitats, and carbon seques-tration (Power 2010).
Costs and environmental risks
Costs and environmental risks of industrial-scaleterrestrial agriculture are plenty. Depending on theparty examining these costs and environmentalrisks, varying levels of amplification or simplifica-tion may be observed. In general, industrial-scaleterrestrial agriculture depends on expensive inputsfrom resources off the farm, like pesticides and ferti-lizers; many of which generate wastes that harm theenvironment (Horrigan et al. 2002). According toGhosh (2010), there exists a tight coupling of energy and agriculture markets, which means that risingenergy costs, mainly from fuel and fertilizer prices,have a direct effect on food production costs. Also,since production tends to be concentrated, there is apossibility for a grand agricultural scheme to driveout small producers and undermine communities,thereby, raising a social justice issue (Weis 2010).The following are the environmental risks and costscommonly associated with industrial-scale terrestri-al agriculture (Woodhouse 2010):
Soil compaction through excessive use of ma-chinery
Contamination of groundwater and surfacedrainage with fertilizer (phosphates and ni-trates) and pesticide residues
Reduction in ecological biodiversity (including,as a consequence, increased vulnerability to croppests)
High rates of greenhouse gas emissions due topetroleum consumption (as fuel and in fertilizermanufacture) as well as from land clearance forfood production
In arid climates, depleted groundwater and sali-nization in soils where drainage is inadequate(Mollinga 2010)In addition, industrial-scale terrestrial agriculturerequires huge capital investment for the purchase of machinery and agrochemical inputs. As this favorsfarmers who have access to capital, it tends to mar-ginalize small producers not only in terms of output, which tends to be generally more competitively priced, but also in terms of control of land and wa-ter. As Griffin et al. (2002) point out, this is an issuethat has provided the basis for arguments in favor of redistributive land reform. Another drawback to industrial-scale terrestrial ag-riculture, which has overlapping ecological and socio-economic costs, is land conversion. Although rela-tively little new land has been brought into agricul-ture over the last 50 years – notwithstanding themajor biodiversity impacts and social costs that thismodest conversion brings with it – a surge in energy prices could increase the pressure to convert new land to agriculture (Woods et al. 2010). As Godfray