Monoculture is a very widespread practice on farms of certain crops. At a time when the demand for low-cost food is increasing, it is logical to think that a plantation system that allows obtaining large quantities of food at low cost is the ideal option, but the reality is that it is far from being successful. a best practice if we value it from a general perspective.
If you want to learn more about what monoculture is , its advantages and disadvantages as well as its consequences, join us in this article.
What is monoculture – definition
Monoculture is quite easy to define: it is about large farms or plantations in which only one species is grown , using the same techniques and methods on a large scale.
It is a cultivation system that requires little labor, although, on the contrary, it requires more advanced technological means. Monoculture is very advantageous for producers in the short and medium term, since it allows them to obtain large profits and production from the land, with relatively simple control methods to maintain. However, monoculture is very dangerous in the long term, and is currently known to be a very problematic practice from an ecological point of view , since it degrades the soil and can create very resistant pests that are difficult to combat.
The alternative to monoculture is, as is evident, multiculturalism . By combining different crops that complement each other, either simultaneously or through crop rotation , the land does not deplete its nutrients or lose its microfauna, so the soil maintains its quality and biological diversity.
To promote this type of practice, the European Union establishes Greening, a subsidy that is given each year to farmers who work using ecological techniques that respect the planet, being the practice of multiculturalism one of the main ones.
Monoculture: advantages and disadvantages
Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of monoculture :
Advantages of monocultures
- The main advantage of monoculture is that it provides very high amounts of production, thus allowing it to satisfy market demands for the most basic agricultural products, such as staple foods. Corn, soybeans, cotton or pine are some examples of monocultures that are very widespread today for this reason.
- Another great advantage is the reduced manpower required to manage a farm of this type, in which very few people are needed in relation to the size of the farm.
- By allowing the production of large quantities of product, this also allows its market price to fall, making basic necessities more affordable.
Disadvantages of monoculture
Monoculture is very dangerous and is a practice that negatively affects the environment , as it has effects such as the following:
- Its main disadvantage is the depletion and degradation of the soil, because the repeated cultivation of the same species ends up completely depleting the nutrients required by it. This ends up causing even long-term erosion, and the soil begins to require the periodic addition of fertilizers.
- Another major disadvantage is that, being large areas with a single species, pests and diseases can spread quickly and cause large losses. In addition, the repeated use of the same chemicals to combat them can create resistant pests or diseases, causing even greater dependence on chemicals. This can lead to the final food product having high concentrations of unwanted chemicals.
- Monoculture also destroys the biological diversity of the area, making many microorganisms disappear from the soil, which are very important to protect crops against some threats.
Consequences of monoculture
The consequences of monoculture are therefore beneficial for the producer in the short and medium term, but very harmful for everyone in the long term. The cheapening of the product faces the erosion and degradation of a land that later will not be used to grow anything, in addition to the threat of pests and diseases resistant to the most used products, and that will require the use of even more chemicals to be fought.
For all this, it is important to raise awareness and help producers to work with sustainable methods that can provide agricultural products in the long term, especially now that the demand for basic foods is increasing due to the growth of the world population.