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To address the global food crisis, we have to address the power of big agribusiness

Author: Ian Fitzpatrick

At the beginning of March, the Guardian ran a chilling editorial warning of a looming global food crisis, saying that an ‘enduring lesson of history is that drought and famine feed conflict, and conflict breeds more privation, and despair.’ The good news is that there’s a whole host of ways going forward to address the challenge of sustainable food production. The bad news is that donors, development agencies and multilateral financial initiatives seem to want to move in the opposite direction.

There is now extremely good evidence that small-scale sustainable farming, or agroecology, can deliver as much if not more food than large-scale corporate-controlled agriculture. For example, research by the UN showed that switching to agroecological farming methods has increased yields across Africa by 116% and by 128% in East Africa compared to conventional farming.

There is also plenty of evidence that the livelihoods of farmers and communities can be improved, and that agroecology can deliver a huge range of other benefits, including reducing the gender gap, creating jobs, improving people’s health, increasing biodiversity, and increasing the resilience of food systems to cope with climate change.

 

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