Future of Agriculture: Online Discussion blog channel

Warming up for the G8
Blog channel: GROW

There's enough food in the world to feed everyone. So why does one person in every eight still go to bed hungry?

This month, eight people will meet in Northern Ireland - and they can start to answer this one question. 

Children in a classroom, Mali. Photo: Oxfam

Let’s not be dogmatic about farming methods, many options are needed. Options are precisely what smallholders lack. At best these farmers live imprisoned in “either/or” lives filled with heart-wrenching choices. The rich world must foster equal access to farming essentials and above all choice, for smallholders are indispensable to the future of agriculture. 

Member of Dilokata farmers group in her garden in Bito village, Uganda. Photo: Oxfam

The future has arrived, it’s just not at the scale required. The spread of bottom-up approaches to farmer innovation, coupled with breakthrough technology developed by input companies, will make smallholders productive and profitable. Crucially, new technologies must be accessible, appropriate and affordable.

By Kavita Prakash-Mani, Head of Food Security Agenda, Syngenta International

A man from the Sahel. Photo: Oxfam

Experts’ ideas about how resource-poor farmers could improve productivity ought to be guided by indigenous knowledge. Low-cost, micro-innovations that make use of local resources have great potential but are often overlooked by mainstream developers of agricultural technology.

By Dr. Florence Wambugu, CEO, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI)

Man with his packed donkey in Kosht epa valley, Afghanistan

If poor farmers had more freedom to innovate and adequate access to public and private investments, they would likely disappoint us by getting out of farming altogether. But even if only one or two in five remained, they would change the world for the better, literally.

By Julio A. Berdegué, Principal Researcher, Latin American Centre for Rural Development (RIMISP)

Corn, Bolivia

Nothing is as ironic as the fact that we indigenous peoples, who brought so many foods to the world, lack the means to escape poverty and malnutrition. Having control over what we produce, how and when we do it, and power over its distribution will allow us to build sustainable livelihoods. We call that food sovereignty.

By Tarcila Rivera Zea, Director of the Centre for Peru’s Indigenous Cultures (CHIRAPAQ)


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