Farming Matters | 29.4 | December 2013
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.”
In the International Year of Family Farming we are confronted with a shameful paradox. Family farmers produce more than half of the world’s food. That is a reason to celebrate family farming. Yet, 70% of the world’s most impoverished people live in rural areas and belong to family farming or pastoralist communities. How is this possible? And how can this situation be changed? We seek your groundbreaking views, your innovative proposals and experiences that show how family farmers can break out of the poverty trap and increase their resilience.
Some countries are experiencing strong economic growth, even as food and nutrition insecurity increase. Conflicts over resources (land, water, and biodiversity) and degraded resource bases often threaten the poor and the marginalised who are directly dependent on these resources.
Poverty is not just about a lack of money. It has as much to do with people’s asset base in a much broader sense, and thus with power. Poverty is also about people’s capability to deal with situations of shock or stress – whether social, economic, political or physical. Poor people lack the resilience to effectively cope with these shocks. Over the last decade climate change has added to these problems, resulting in ever growing resilience deficits in rural communities.
How can poor people in rural areas break out of this vicious cycle? In the June 2014 issue of Farming Matters we will focus on how agro-ecological approaches strengthen the resilience of family farmers and help them break out of poverty. We will look at how agro-ecological farming practices and the social dimensions of family farming contribute to strengthening resilience and sustainable resource management. In so doing we examine the roles of young people and women and how policymakers, organisations and researchers can actively encourage the effective and widespread use of agro- ecological approaches as a way to address rural poverty. We welcome your contributions, with supporting evidence.
Articles for the June 2014 issue of Farming Matters should be sent to the editors before April 1st, 2014.