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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Perspectives on agroecological transition: the case of Guacheta municipality, Colombia

Latorre, Sergio Alejandro Barrios; Sadovska, Vera; Chongtham, Iman Raj


Specialization of agriculture in the Colombian Andes has increased smallholder vulnerability to climate change and global price fluctuations and has also affected the socio-economic and environmental conditions. Promoting sustainable agriculture in the region requires a holistic understanding of complex agroecosystems. This study identifies and analyzes the main challenges for agriculture and possibilities for agroecological transition of small-scale farms in Guacheta, Colombia. Using the Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE), 10 elements of agroecology and core performance criteria were evaluated on seven farms. Several key actors were then interviewed, to triangulate data and understand current challenges and possible future pathways. It was found that drier climate and variations in rainfall patterns pose major challenges to current production systems. Limited possibilities for participation in land governance, lack of interest in agriculture among young people, and lack of access to markets hinder the development of sustainable agriculture. Current specialized practices in dairy and potato production are associated with reduced agricultural biodiversity and dependency on agrochemicals, leading to weak synergies and low profitability within agroecosystems. Implementation of agroecological principles and practices such as crop and income diversification and promoting joint action in agricultural development could help overcome sustainability issues in Guacheta.


Agroecology; agroecological assessment; TAPE; small-scale agriculture; climate change; participation

Published in

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
2023, Volume: 47, number: 3, pages: 382-412