Within the international community, there is a general agreement on the need to transform the food and agriculture sector, but views are very divergent on the direction to be followed to achieve this target. The concept of sustainable intensification seeks productive cropping systems while respecting the natural recovery capacity of the ecosystem through the maintenance of undisturbed soil structure.
The single most significant change in land management practices of sustainable intensification is the abandoning of mechanical soil tillage as a standard practice in crop production. Organic agriculture covers the whole food system, from production to labeling and commercialization according to precise standards, while agro-ecology and other low-input systems refer to production practices very similar to organic but without strict restrictions on input use.
The opportunities and constraints of both systems are reviewed according to food supply, employment/ livelihoods and ecosystem services globally provided.