Despite criticism, a growing number of farmers, scientists, and development experts are advocate for a shift from high-input, chemical-intensive agriculture to low-input ecological farming.
Hans Herren, who won the 1995 World Food Prize for biological pest control, argues that Africa still does not need genetically modified cassava. Rather, natural solutions can treat pests and keep the soil and crops healthy.
For the fifth straight year, chronic hunger increased worldwide. But supporting small-scale farmers and ecologically sound farming practices has the potential to nourish communities and the planet.
While financial interests in the current input-intensive systems are responding to growing calls for agroecology with attacks on its efficacy, it is surprising that they are so ill-informed about the scientific innovations agroecology offers to small-scale farmers who are being so poorly served by “green revolution” approaches.
The Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, which was the product of some 17 years of diplomatic work led by the international peasant alliance La Via Campesina, formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose “seed sovereignty” is threatened by government and corporate practices.
“If the associations are registered and the farmers have collective rights to some land, maybe the land grabbing can stop,” Zunguze told me. Association leaders planned to visit neighboring National Farmers Union cooperatives to learn how agro-ecology could help them grow more food for their families and communities.
López Obrador’s victory in Mexico brings hope for Mexican farmers expecting more self-sufficiency through a reduction in dependence on imports, chemical-intensive production methods, and GMOs. Promises of support for sustainable practices on small and medium-scale farms are on the horizon.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement leads the political race to be the next President of Mexico and has endorsed a far-reaching set of reforms to improve Mexico’s rural sector. The program centers on the idea of “food sovereignty” and is sharply critical of NAFTA.
India’s food security and stockholding program uses precisely the same policies that the U.S. used in its early farm policy coming out of the Great Depression. Exactly the same: price supports, food reserves, administered markets, subsidies. The U.S. government used them because they work. India and other countries should be allowed to use them, too. Because they work.
India’s National Food Security Act (NFSA), is one of the most ambitious food security initiatives in the world, planning to buy food grains from small-scale farmers to distribute to some 840 million poor Indians, two-thirds of the country’s people.