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Look at the following paragraph and fill in the blank.

So can the true cost of food be brought down? Breaking away from industrial agriculture as the solution to hunger may be very hard for some countries, but in Britain, where the immediate need to supply food is less urgent, and the cost and the damage of intensive farming have been clearly seen, it may be more feasible. The government needs to create sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food sectors, which contribute to a thriving and sustainable rural economy, and advance environmental, economic, health, and animal welfare goals.

It is realistic to suggest that Britain should reduce its reliance on ..................... .

What I get from the paragraph is that

Breaking away from industrial agriculture as the solution to hunger may be very hard for some countries, but in Britain, it may be more feasible.

So I choose Industrial Agriculture. However, the answer sheet says that it should be Intensive Farming.

Can someone shed some light on this for me? Am I misinterpreting the paragraph?

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  • I would not put much credence on an answer to a question from a source which mis-spells countries. – Weather Vane Oct 25 '18 at 19:06
  • @WeatherVane: That was my bad! :D It is for an IELTS test so be sure about the source. :) – Hosein Rahnama Oct 25 '18 at 19:07
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    As the question text contains both phrases it is impossible to say which is the expected answer. But as it says "Breaking away from industrial agriculture..." I would have made the same choice as you. The text's final sentence is what I would call "gob-speech" that is, it is a string of sound bites which mean nothing at all. – Weather Vane Oct 25 '18 at 19:23
  • @Lambie: Please base your logic on the paragraph only and do not make any further conclusions. Then what would you say? – Hosein Rahnama Oct 25 '18 at 19:53
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    But my answer is the same as Weather Vane's..... – Lambie Oct 25 '18 at 20:22
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I would say the correct answer to your question is industrial agriculture.

"Industrial agriculture" and "intensive farming" are not really the same thing:

  • Industrial agriculture refers to modern farming methods including the use of technology. It can mean farming on a much larger scale than traditional farming methods.

  • Intensive farming refers to practices which yield higher levels output per cubic unit of agricultural land area.

The two are not mutually exclusive - you could have an industrial agriculture operation which employs intensive farming methods; but equally, a farming operation could be one or the other, or neither.

In the paragraph you quote, it does seem like the two terms are being used interchangeably. However, the reason I suggest that industrial agriculture is the answer they are looking for is because the paragraph uses this term and says it is "feasible" in Britain. The other term used in the sentence is part of the explanation why that statement may be true. You could remove that part of the sentence and the rest (shown in bold here) would still make sense:

Breaking away from industrial agriculture as the solution to hunger may be very hard for some countries, but in Britain, where the immediate need to supply food is less urgent, and the cost and the damage of intensive farming have been clearly seen, it may be more feasible.

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