Reconvert the Agricultural Systems

Reconvert the Agricultural Systems

Under the thrust of the needs established by the Treaty of Rome, we have gone towards a production model that, in parallel with other sectors of human activities, has seen the birth and growth of production systems of energy needs (remember that food is the first energy production system human) open, concentrated, dependent on non-renewable systems and, therefore, with high contents of Entropy. In short, low energy efficiency systems. All this without resolving, even aggravating, the main objectives of the Treaty of Rome and similar international treaties: to abolish hunger in the world and to project the planet towards an era of “well-being”. On a large scale the entire social and ecological emergency of our planet is the fruit of an economy of the impossible.
An Economics desired and written by economists often naive but also driven by great interests that did not know or have interest in knowing the organization of Complex Systems, such as the Social Ecosystem and the Environmental Ecosystem.
This Economy, in stark contrast to the Principles of Physics and Thermodynamics, has generated in the agricultural sector what we can call “the Green Illusion” and which in parallel has caused a series of imbalances to which it has had to address, for the first time in history, a Pope with an encyclical: the “Laudato sì”. For this reason we must review the whole ethical, scientific and technical approach that will characterize the policies of the future.
Production System: the organization of the production system, therefore the farm, must be reviewed in an agroecological perspective. However, the agro-ecological organization of the productions is substantially different, and for some different opposites to most of the productive organizations of our farms. Agroecology is a science that, as such, has been disregarded and, in some respects, abandoned with the application of the principles of the Green Revolution. In agroecology it is impossible not to respect the fundamental elements of the energy yields of the agricultural systems which, today, attest to efficiencies equal to 1/10 of those obtainable following the principles of ecology. This is because today, in “modern” farms, we have converted the production Agroecosistema from closed to open.

In a closed thermodynamic system the system must provide itself for the supply of material and the only exchange with the external allowed is the energetic one; in an open thermodynamic system, both matter and energy can be exchanged with the outside and this condition does not have indifferent but substantial repercussions as the exchange of masses (transport) moving in an inertial system occurs with decreases in yields as more and more are the rates of mass exchanged. This is because the masses to move absorb energy.
The second aspect is that, to achieve better efficiency, the dissipative system (ecological systems are dissipative systems) must necessarily increase the complexity of its structure (or order) by decreasing its entropy (negentropy); in short, it must biodiversify.
The productive specializations, the contributions of large quantities of external masses (chemical, mechanical, etc.) play against all these conditions, affecting the complexity of the system, reducing it in favor of high entropy energy forms (see desertification and biodiversity decrease) .
This Science is based on a different analytical principle; it is based on the epistemology of complexity, whose father is the 1960 Nobel Prize for Chemistry Ilya Prigogine.
It is evident that the conversion of our productive cells (farms) from open systems to closed systems has a knock-on effect on the ecological and anthropic systems connected to them which, structuring according to the epistemology of complexity, must adapt and reshape accordingly. These considerations, which are not questionable, lead to a series of needs in the agri-food sector:

  • Remodeling of farms towards highly biodiversified forms;
  • Adjustment of company size to a concrete relationship of cultural and energy management to its promoter nucleus (farmer in all its forms);
  • Application of the principle of Food Sovereignty as implementation, on a larger scale or, if we prefer, of geographical macroareas (Bioregions), of the principles of better efficiency of Energy Systems.
    Realization of the concept of Km zero as the best condition to operate in the presence of more closed thermodynamic systems (Kyoto Protocol).
  • Realization of what in the electrical engineering sector is called “Distributed Generation” which is nothing other than the synthesis or compendium of the whole issue.

The time available for this metamorphosis is little but the real struggle is on two fronts: on the one hand, farmers very disheartened and often not ready for this great change; on the other, the policies of direction for this great process and here the political debate is still zero year.

Guido Bissanti

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