Small-scale Family Agriculture Can Feed the World

Small-scale family agriculture has a vital place in meeting some of the challenges faced by world agriculture (hunger, poverty, climate, energy, biodiversity, water, justice and economic balances on the local and world level).

It requires sobriety (organic agriculture is not exclusively aimed at boosting yields), efficiency and renewable sources of energy. It acts as a protective shield for victims of hunger against an offensive by large-scale intensive agriculture with its associated negative environmental effects.

A recent European Food Declaration lays down, at the European level, some guiding principles. In Africa, there is a key role for women in improving agriculture.

Explanation: “Organic agriculture rejects the use of chemical elements, notably nitrogen, and recycles the waste from the harvest and the farm’s fertilisers. Organically farmed soils are healthier, retain more carbon, contain a high degree of vegetable mould, a good structure, a good capacity for water retention and strong resilience to erosion. They resist well against drought as well as against heavy rainfall and emit little Greenhouse Gases”.

Author: Urs Niggli, La revue durable, n° 37, p.32)