Interview > Norman Uphoff - Norman Uphoff, Professor Emeritus of Government and International Agriculture at Cornell University, served as director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD) from 1990 to 2005. During this time he became acquainted with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Madagascar, and realised that “something unusual was going on” as farmers were obtaining average paddy yields of eight tons per hectare instead of their usual two tons. Recognising the huge potential benefits, he has been working ever since to promote the testing, evaluation and understanding of SRI. “People can overestimate my role as easily as they can underestimate it… the truth is that the actual work has been done by thousands of people around the world.”
Tati Krisnawaty interviewed Pak Enceng, a farmer who is a pioneer in using SRI methods in Indonesia and teaching others about his knowledge. He talks about the obstacles encountered as well as the benefits surrounding the use of SRI methods.
Interview > Valdely Kinupp - Valdely Kinupp, professor at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Amazonas, talks about his work and life experience with Wild Edible Plants (WEP). He discusses the main obstacles, challenges and opportunities to enlarge the knowledge, use and consumption of WEP and how this can improve the biodiversity conservation.
Baobab’s Anthony Mugo interviewed Dr. Geoffrey Kironchi, an expert on desertification.
Interview > Chris Reij - Working as a sustainable land management specialist at the Centre for International Cooperation of the Free University in Amsterdam, and as a Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute, in Washington, Chris Reij is the facilitator of “African Re-greening Initiatives”. This is a platform that supports farmers in the process of adapting to climate change and in developing more productive and sustainable farming systems. This platform was launched to help scale up the results of the efforts of those farmers and communities in Burkina Faso and Mali who have shown enormous success in the fight against desertification.
Interview > Elisabeth Atangana - As a farmer, the newly appointed FAO Special Ambassador for Co-operatives, Elisabeth Atangana, is familiar with farmer organisations at many different levels.
June 20, 2012: Interview > Georgina Koomson - CEO of Ideal Providence Farms in Ghana, member of IFOAM. She is a farmer herself, producing and exporting organic shea butter. She is in Rio at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development with the IFOAM delegation.
Interview > Ann Waters‑Bayer - Rio+20 has sparked international attention to sustainable agricultural development, but this has been a point of attention for many people for years. Agricultural sociologist, Ann Waters‑Bayer was for a long time involved in the production of the ILEIA Newsletter and the LEISA Magazine. She is now part of Prolinnova, a “Global Partnership Programme” under the umbrella of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) that aims to promote local innovation processes in ecologically oriented agriculture.
Interview > Manuel Gonzalez de Molina - Manuel Gonzalez de Molina Navarro works as Professor in the Department of Contemporary History at the University Pablo de Olavide (Seville), where he directs the Laboratory of Agro-ecosystems History. He proposes the use of “social metabolism” as a tool and perspective to describe and analyse the relationship between nature and the production processes – and to develop more sustainable food systems.
Interview > Cornelia Butler Flora - Cornelia Butler Flora, a professor at the Iowa State University explains why we should work on small-scale rather than big-scale policies and why she is sceptical about the possibility to mainstream agroecological approaches.
Interview > Julia Wright - Julia Wright, Deputy Director of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security at Coventry University, speaks about why policy-makers fear agroecology, sustainable agriculture based on modern technologies and what civil society can do to increase agroecological approaches.
Interview > Jean Marc von der Weid - Twenty years after Rio de Janeiro was the stage for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the world’s gaze returns to Brazil for the Rio+20 Conference in June this year. The sequel to this first international meeting on sustainable development may well have important implications for the future of family farmers. Jean Marc von der Weid founded and now works with AS-PTA, the Brazilian member of the AgriCultures Network. Based in Rio, they support capacity building and institutional policies in favour of family farming and agro-ecology.
February 2012: Interview > Irene Cardoso - To tackle the global problems of hunger and inequality, we need to upscale the number of farmers that follow agro-ecological approaches, says Irene Cardoso.
Interview > Sabina Voogd - The gender aspect of sustainable development is not fully integrated into the Zero Draft document for Rio+20. "It seems like if it was ‘added on’ at the end. We need to take into consideration that policy interventions have different effects on men and women. If we say that we need ‘more access to technology, and more support for sustainable agriculture’, we have to understand what does it mean from men and women’s perspectives".
Interview > Felix Dodds - "If you want to have a strong impact, you have to come to the meetings. And the reality is that to have a big impact, you have to be in New York permanently, between now and probably the end of May..."
Interview > Djibo Bagna - ROPPA, the West African Network of Peasant and Farmer Organisations, was founded in 2000 as a representative body that would help “make the voices of family farmers heard”. Having been involved with farmer organisations for decades, Djibo Bagna serves now as its President.
Interview > Hans Herren - Hans Herren is president of the Millennium Institute, an international NGO providing tools and methods worldwide that facilitate decision making for sustainable development. The driving force in all his activities and professional choices is the concern for a more sustainable world where there is a future for everybody.
Interview > Parviz Koohafkan - The director of the Land and Water Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO, has a positive view: in spite of the difficulties that small-scale farmers face, they play a very important role in rural development, and this is increasingly being recognised. Their role will therefore become even more important – especially in the face of climate change.
Interview > Anuradha Mittal - A recent report from the Oakland Institute shows the important role that the World Bank and its institutions have played in the processes of land acquisition (or land grabs) recently experienced in many countries. In an interview with Farming Matters, its executive director, Anuradha Mittal, questions the role of such institutions and calls for policies which focus on food sovereignty.
Interview > Olivier De Schutter - Olivier De Schutter is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food. He aims to inform people at the highest political levels about the role that smallholders play in the world’s food production systems. He hopes that this will make decision-makers more sensitive to their needs and rights.