Saturday, January 26, 2013

media attention is the role of small farmers in poverty reduction and food security, but what we need is action on land rights and support to cope with powerful partners

With the release of enough food for everyone if the campaign global food security is back on the public agenda. The British campaign hopes to mobilize public support leading up to the G8 meeting in June, in an attempt to replicate the achievements of Make Poverty History in 2005. One of the cornerstones of the campaign if the earth, and draw attention to the plight of poor farmers are forced to abandon their property in what has been described as a "land grab" neo-colonial.

We, of course, the process of alienation and dispossession accelerated in the past century. At the age of extremes, the final volume of his popular books quartet, the historian Eric Hobsbawm has stated that "the death of peasants" was "the most drastic change and large social in the second half of this [ 20th century] "seal" us forever in the world of the past. "" farmers, "said Hobsbawm," which had formed the majority of the human race throughout history, was rejected by the agricultural revolution ".

While many on the left felt that it was premature to an obituary, several right-wing commentators have seen the disappearance of the peasantry as a prerequisite to prosperity. In the magazine Foreign Affairs Committee U.S. in 2008, Paul Collier quipped "the question of love and the upper middle class with peasant agriculture" and said that "the peasants, as pandas, must be preserved." In today's world, Collier argues that "the world needs more retail parks, not less."


Comments are a recent delivery of a long history of small farmers derogatory. Victorian Indian elites also punished


farmers, tenants and sharecroppers Irish Cottier Africans as primitive, lazy, liars and improvident. Much the same story that characterized the colonial period transferred to the Green Revolution as "de-peasantisation" became

sine qua non

for Agricultural Development . The drive for better performance, thanks to influential voices within the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, strong structure is required to support agriculture, including expensive pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and regular watering, a large part of this which was beyond the capacity of small farmers.

The report of the World Economic Forum, a new vision for agriculture (pdf), which was published on the occasion of the annual meeting in Davos, promises to break this spiral of thought misanthrope. Recognizing that the planet is home to about 500 million small farmers - support 2 million people, or 97% of the world's food production and nearly 70% of the world population - report stresses the importance of " collaboration "with small farmers to ensure food security, economic development and environmental sustainability. Instead of being regarded as fossils of the past, small farmers are identified in the report as "agents of change" and "catalysts" of the business transformation of agriculture. The report insists that "small" projects can be designed with investors including the private sector, governments and civil society organizations. With the right incentives, projects can be strengthened at regional and national levels, promoting poverty reduction and rural development, but it really is a break with past practice - a real "new vision" for the agriculture

We believe there are reasons for caution. Firstly, the association as provided in this report is clearly an alliance David meets Goliath type. Although local businesses and farmers crop the image, is the global agribusiness that dominates the view. Can they really smallholders have a voice in collective bargaining power of Bunge, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Diageo, DuPont, Unilever and Wal-Mart - some of the 28 member companies driving the initiative? Too often, the rhetoric of partnership development asymmetries masks great power among participants.

Second, the new vision of agriculture gives priority to market-based approaches to food security and poverty reduction. The report poses the question: "With the models employed, small farmers are able to participate fully in the market even more, mainly subsistence level?" However, the contrast between subsistence agriculture ("bad") and the market share and the production of goods ("good") is not simple. Market volatility can give good and bad for the poor.

Handwringing government guarantees and the future become part of the annual cycle of political life, with little evidence to make a difference on the ground, where they are most needed. In this context, it is too easy to be cynical about the recent commitments from Davos and the cycle of media attention surrounding ephemeral public campaigns on food, hunger and global justice. For reasons of small farmers around the world, we hope we are wrong.

Find best price for : --David--