© 2020

Sustainable Agricultural Development

An Economic Perspective


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxviii
  2. John M. Antle, Srabashi Ray
    Pages 1-8
  3. John M. Antle, Srabashi Ray
    Pages 43-94
  4. John M. Antle, Srabashi Ray
    Pages 95-138
  5. John M. Antle, Srabashi Ray
    Pages 167-201
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 203-208

About this book


This book provides a non-technical, accessible primer on sustainable agricultural development and its relationship to sustainable development based on three analytical pillars. The first is to understand agriculture as complex physical-biological-human systems. Second is the economic perspective of understanding tradeoffs and synergies among the economic, environmental and social dimensions of these systems at farm, regional and global scales. Third is the understanding of these agricultural systems as the supply side of one sector of a growing economy, interacting through markets and policies with other sectors at local, national and global scales. The first part of the book introduces the concept of sustainability and develops an analytical framework based on tradeoffs quantified using impact indicators in the economic, environmental and social domains, linking this framework to the role of agriculture in economic growth and development. Next the authors introduce the reader to the sustainability challenges of major agroecosystems in the developing and industrialized worlds. The concluding chapter discusses the design and implementation of sustainable development pathways, through the expression of consumers’ desire for sustainably produced foods on the demand side of the food system, and through policies on the supply side such as new more sustainable technologies, environmental regulation and payments for ecosystem services.


agricultural economics food policy sustainable development sustainable development goals unced gates foundation john mellor john antle environment food system supply chain Sustainable Development Indicators sustainable agriculture agro-ecosystems synergies and trade-offs food security climate change climate change effects on agriculture

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied EconomicsOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied EconomicsOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

About the authors

John M. Antle is Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at Oregon State University, USA. He has led multi-disciplinary research projects on the sustainability of agricultural systems in the United States and in Asia, Latin America and Africa for over 25 years.

Srabashi Ray is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Applied Economics at Oregon State University, USA. Her doctoral research and work experience at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are on agricultural development and food security in developing countries. 


Bibliographic information


“This important book clearly lays out the complex challenges facing agricultural development at local-to-global scales. Despite the great success of the current food system, it faces two major issues: climate change and malnutrition. Through their economic lens, the authors explicate the participatory processes and analytical tools needed to find solutions to these challenges. They offer pathways to sustainable agricultural development for both developing and high-income countries, focusing on methods by which to create them. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) welcomes this insightful book, and will utilize its methods in major assessments of climate change and the global food system.” (Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Earth Institute)

“Antle and Ray provide a comprehensive assessment of the synergies and trade-offs in achieving sustainable development with a much needed focus on food and agricultural systems. This book provides timely input to the current debates and controversies around the state and future of global food systems. The authors’ cautious optimism that we will eventually get it right and will embark on a path of sustainable development at the local and global scales is appealing. A must read for all of us interested in a future world that can sustainably feed nine billion people.” (Prabhu Pingali, Professor of Applied Economics, Cornell University)

“Finding pathways to sustainable development is the challenge of our time. Antle and Ray provide a readable, non-technical account of the central role that agriculture must play in meeting that challenge. Using examples from developing and industrialized regions, they explain the concepts and analytics that are used by scientists and economists to design more sustainable agricultural development pathways. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand agriculture’s role in sustainable development.” (Pramod Aggarwal, South Asia Research Program Director, Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security)