Thursday, August 08, 2013

Oxfam debates on the future of agriculture

The Future of Agriculture: Synthesis of an online debate From the conclusion
"While the debate was not aimed at creating a consensus, nearly all participants appeared to agree that a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible. Only very few people said that a choice is inevitable between the two opposing models of agriculture: premaculture/organic, and oil/chemical dependent. At the same time many contributors suggested that current policies and politics favour the latter. And there was general agreement that multi-pronged approaches are needed, with much more attention paid to the potential of agro-ecological, bio-diverse systems to address problems related to climate change, resource scarcity and fossil fuel dependency. The labour-intensive agriculture practiced by the estimated 1.5 to 2 billion people currently living in rural food-producing households was seen by many, not as a cause of hunger and poverty, but rather a vehicle for escaping those scourges – if invested in properly. Agriculture is the only sector that can usefully absorb a large labour force. Several referred to the fact that in many developing countries small-scale producers are the largest source of investment in agriculture, biodiversity, and related knowledge systems. Too often, however, government policies marginalize them, or create incentives geared to supporting commercial investments that compete with, or displace these small-scale producers. There is no denying that enormous capital flows and practices of both private and public institutions are geared towards industrialscale production. This debate has shown that redressing this imbalance is a critical challenge
for all stakeholders."
P.S  About India's dwindling female workforce.

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