Document Type : REVIEW PAPER


1 International Rice Research Institute, South Asia Regional Centre, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

2 Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

3 KL College of Agriculture, KL Deemed to be University, Vaddeswaram, Andhra Pradesh, India

4 Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education, Krishnankoil, Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu, India

5 Amity Institute of Horticulture Studies and Research, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, India



Ensuring the long-term sustainability of food systems and the welfare of current and future generations depends critically on the economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural production. Implementing strategies that maximize resource use, reduce environmental effect, and guarantee profitability is necessary to achieve economic and environmental sustainability at the crop level. Farmers need to be able to support their costs of production and crop sales through agriculture. In order to sell their goods at competitive prices, farmers must handle problems including market monopolies, price instability, and fair trading practices. The use of land, water, fertilizer, and pesticides affects production costs and earnings.  Farmers can employ a variety of techniques, including as crop rotation, cover crops, agro forestry, organic farming, carbon sequestration and decreased tillage, which enhance soil health and lessen erosion, to preserve environmental sustainability. Water management strategies, such rainwater collection, drip irrigation, and water recycling, are used to save water and ease the strain on freshwater resources.  Moreover, using drones and global positioning system-guided tractors maximizes input application, lowers fuel consumption, and boosts overall agricultural productivity. Beneficial insects, birds, and other animals find a home when hedgerows, buffer strips, and wildlife corridors are kept up around and inside fields at crop level.  Farmers may improve the resilience, profitability, and long-term viability of their farms while reducing their negative environmental effects and advancing wider sustainability goals by incorporating economic management, environmental and social sustainability concepts at the farm level. Economic management, which lowers market risk and stabilizes farm revenue, involves cost analysis, budgeting, and community supported agriculture. The goals of integrated pest management and organic farming are to preserve the sustainable environment, control diseases and pests at the farm level, and use less chemicals overall. In order to ensure social sustainability, farm workers must engage with their local communities and customers, support resilient local food systems, and have safe working conditions, access to healthcare, and an education that upholds human dignity and social equality.  To address the problem of unsustainable production practices, accounting for them by bringing all aspects of sustainability under a single umbrella is paramount. In spite of widespread interest in sustainability in agriculture production at the crop level, very little work has been done towards measuring the economic and environmental sustainability of individual crops at the farm level, particularly in developing countries like India. In the present study, a framework was developed that determines the sustainability of a particular crop's output using farm level information.  Micro level indicators of sustainability only for the relevant dimensions of sustainability, viz., economic and environmental sustainability, were compiled and evaluated for their relevance, usefulness, and measurability for agriculture at the crop level. The sustainability scores of farmers were found to be 50.99 and 67.65 under the composite sustainability score under rainfed conditions. The composite sustainability scores for the composite environmental conditions were found to be 45.58 and 40.03 under rainfed and irrigated conditions, respectively. The economic sustainability indicator weights were found to be 30, 30, 15, 15, and 10 for the economic sustainable indicators 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. A further procedure for deriving composite indicators by aggregating individual indicators has been provided. The long-term viability of two sample respondents growing tomatoes was evaluated, demonstrating the applicability of the framework of agricultural production that balances environmental and economic sustainability at the crop level.

Graphical Abstract

Economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture production at the crop level


  • Evaluated a farm-level sustainability evaluation that only measured variety at the crop level on the farm;
  • Farming methods, resource management, spatial organization, and variety were shown to be the ecological components influencing biodiversity and the agronomic and farming activities that have a broad impact on the environment;
  • Rainfed farmers outperformed irrigated farmers in terms of environmental sustainability, and irrigated farmers performed better economically.


Main Subjects


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