Sustainable Agriculture

PEASANT STORY

From the earlier XXth century until now, the rural world has known an important evolution which has transformed the landscapes and even the social relations in France.

After the 2nd World War, France had to face food shortages and peasant began to claim aids. French government did the necessary choices to ensure peasant stable prices. In 1962, the CAP is born, it was a copy of the French policies : ensure prices and outlets for the producer. With the CAP, peasant had to make investments to be far more productive. In this way, each area is now specialized in one production. Agriculture has been modernized, tractors replaced the animal traction, pesticides and fertilizers has known their apogee. In the same time, we stopped to talk about “peasant”, but instead, we called them “farmers”, as they are considered as real businessman. It is true that it is difficult to compare farmers today to those of 50 years ago. The link with the land is different, because in the past proprieties were far less important. In 1950, they were 3 000 000 farms, now only 600 000 : 4/5 farms disappeared. The agricultural population has been discredited in the opinion of the French population because of the pollutions (of the water especially), they are considered to be those who pollute the most and which are totally indifferent of the future of the Earth even if they depend of it ! Whereas relations between peasant population and the rural population were strengthened in the past, now, we observe a kind of segregation. It is true, that, with the modernization of the agriculture, farmers lose some peasant values and a part of humanity also. But, should we have to compare past and present ? If we ask our grand-parents, in the past, the agriculture was really a trying job, modernization help them to have more freedom, despite, it remains a particular job where the application of the 35 h can’t work ! So, it remains a vocation, farmers have to work with nature and climate like in the past, only the ways of production has changed. With the climate change, this modernization is called into question, and a question appear : Has we have to come-back of the peasant agriculture, the agriculture of the past ?


PEOPLE ARE STARVING

Undoubtedly, hunger is the major scourge of the 21st century. Fifty countries are concerned. An increasing number of people do not have access to staple food. Low-income people suffer from a high cost of living; even the food is expensive. Before that, the quest for food was a constant challenge. Today these people are literally starving. Although one of the MDG is to halve the number

If people suffering from undernourishment, figures are meant to rise. Today, 800 million people are starving. There are expected to be 1.2 billion of them by 2025, that is to say 600 million more than the goal fixed by the UN in 2000.

The crisis seems to be of concern to the media. However, it is a bigger issue that they want us to believe. The crisis could have been anticipated easily but it looks like a very surprising phenomenon in the media !

Signs that led to the crisis are incredibly numerous :
– every day, 24,000 people die from hunger
– many countries depend on the climate regarding their agricultural output, especially sub-Saharan countries where the rainfalls vary from one year to another ; due to climate change, the variations tend to strengthen.
– international aid has kept on decreasing for the past years whereas the number of needy people has kept on increasing
– low-price food production in Northern countries has destroyed local economy in Southern countries preventing peasant from selling their own products
– an increasing surface of land is being used to cultivate plants which are used to produce biofuel
– as the average income of emergent countries such as China or India is rising, the demand in dairy and poultry products is increasing
– due to the climate change, the surface of arable land is bound to decrease…

We could just go on and on…

This crisis is global since it is the consequence of many other issues : power crisis, climate change, unbalanced trade, poverty…

In the past, human beings have always managed to resolve problems, as big as they could have been. Hopefully, decision-makers, especially Western governments will become aware of the situation and react accordingly to save Mankind and the Earth.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Responses

  1. You are right. That is why industrialized countries leaders should help sub-saharan countries to develop their agriculture by importing more products from these countries, where the pollution level is not as high as in developped countries. It should help people to earn their life, and have enough food to help those country that are sufering from starve.

  2. This is a depressing statement ! but i think we cannot blame the farmers for trying to make money. They just do like everyone else… I think we as consumers and planet members have to react.
    And as for the hunger crisis it’s the same : the decision makers won’t do anything because they must be satisfied with the situation.
    But how many of us (consumers, young people) are ready to react and to defend a cause ?


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