In “Agronomy for sustainable development” - Agroecology is identified as an important solution to increase the sustainability of agricultural and food systems. Despite the increasing number of publications assessing the socio-economic outcomes of agroecology, very few studies have consolidated the scattered results obtained on various case studies. This paper provides new insights by consolidating evidence on the varied socio-economic effects of agroecology across a large number of cases at a global level. To this purpose, we used a rapid review methodology, screening more than 13,000 publications to retrieve evidence on the socio-economic outcomes of the implementation of agroecological practices. The results of the review indicate that (1) agroecological practices are associated more often with positive socio-economic outcomes across the broad range of evaluated metrics (51% positive, 30% negative, 10% neutral, and 9% inconclusive outcomes); (2) the socio-economic metrics associated with financial capital represent the vast majority of evaluated metrics (83% of total) and are affected positively in a large share of cases (53%), due to favourable outcomes on income, revenues, productivity and efficiency; (3) human capital metrics (16%) are associated with a larger number of negative outcomes (46% versus 38% positive), due to higher labour requirements and costs that are however partly compensated by an overall greater number of positive outcomes on labour productivity (55%); and (4) the results vary depending on the agroecological practice assessed; e.g. for agroforestry, we identify 53% positive outcomes while for cropping system diversification 35%. These results indicate an overall favourable potential for farms to benefit from a positive socio-economic performance with the use of agroecological practices. Yet, the magnitude, temporal aspects, and success factors related to these outcomes, as well as the trade-offs between them, and the system-level effects of an agroecological transition are to be further assessed, since they can have an important influence on the performance of individual farms.

Ioanna Mouratiadou, Alexander Wezel, Kintan Kamilia, Angelica Marchetti, Maria Luisa Paracchini, Paolo Bàrberi
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