Locally rooted, globally connected
In the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), the AgriCultures Network will be buzzing with activity. The magazines within our network will be exploring aspects of family farming, such as their role in promoting biodiversity and nutrition.
Family farmers and the many ways in which they contribute to food security, healthy landscapes and thriving rural communities can be supported in a number of ways. These are some initiatives from around the world.
Efforts to improve educational content and access in rural areas vary widely. Here we show just a few initiatives to develop a broader and more inclusive approach, focusing on the curricula, on the tools used or the target groups.
Since their publication in 2011, ILEIA’s learning modules on sustainable small-scale agriculture, Learning AgriCultures, have been distributed and used around the world. With the International Year of Family Farming approaching, this series is more relevant than ever. With themes ranging from technical topics to economic and social issues, the modules are invaluable for anyone who wants to increase his or her theoretical and practical understanding of family farming.
The AgriCultures Network was present at the Second Scientific Conference of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which took place in Bonn, Germany. Network members have also been active on many other fronts.
Throughout the world, small-scale farmers face different challenges when building a market for their products. Different strategies, involving different stakeholders, are proving to be beneficial, contributing to the generation of more sustainable livelihoods.
Our partner organisations are widely known for the regional editions of this magazine, from AGRIDAPE to LEISA China. Yet there is much more going on, with many different initiatives for disseminating information and exchanging ideas and opinions.
More than a recipe to follow, SRI is a set of principles adapted to specific environmental or socio-economic conditions. As “work in progress”, these ideas are the result of trials and experiments carried out at different levels.
Farmers around the world are experimenting with strategies to cope with and restore dry and degraded environments. These may focus on tree planting, or enhancing soil fertility. The following stories are just a few examples of how farmers in different regions use a variety of techniques to enhance ecosystem resilience and protect their livelihoods.
During the past 27 years, our magazines have shown many of the ways in which farmers and organisations are fighting desertification. Combined with scientific knowledge, the approaches based on farmers’ ancestral knowledge and inventiveness can make a real difference, helping to conserve natural resources and give high yields. A quick review of the hundreds of articles published by the AgriCultures Network shows some aspects worth highlighting.
Examples from all over the world show that collective action is the most efficient and sustainable way for farmers to achieve higher incomes. Beyond the economic benefits, however, farmer organisations support their members and local communities in many other ways.
Many people were disappointed with the outcome of the Rio+20 conference in June. Nonetheless, it was a very good opportunity for many representatives of the civil society, from practically all countries, to gather and discuss the challenges that still exist for transforming the global agricultural system into one that respects and supports family farming and agro-ecology. What can we do now to capitalise on the results of the conference and keep the Rio+20 momentum going? Who should we work with? Partners of the AgriCultures Network share their ideas.
Insects are one of the many components of an agro-ecosystem. Their presence can lead to severe farm losses, yet they also make many beneficial contributions. Research and experimentation at a local level can help us identify ways to restore the balance between the different components, and so enhance ecosystem resilience - and yields.
With the Rio+20 conference coming up, it is time to evaluate what a “green economy” really means. Is this addressed in discussions throughout the world? Is a truly "green" economy viable in different regions? What are the main barriers in different countries? Network colleagues shared some of their opinions.
Land can be seen as a farmer’s most precious resource, and access to land has been identified as a basic right. Ensuring these rights is particularly difficult at a time of climate, food, or economic crisis. What specific issues should be taken into account? Network colleagues shared some of their opinions.
Farmers’ access to land is greatly dependent on the laws and regulations on land ownership and land use in a country. But legislation is often not enough to ensure fair and equal distribution of property, whereby farmers can feel secure of their rights to the land they work. Here are some examples from different countries.
While only part of the world’s population is directly involved in producing food, we are all part of the world’s food systems. Whether in the rural areas or in an urban setting, in more or in less industrialised countries, we are all involved – as consumers. What choices do consumers have? Can we, as consumers, contribute towards regional – and more efficient – food systems? Network colleagues look at some of the issues to take into account.
Regional food systems develop around the crops grown in a particular area. Yet other “ingredients” are also needed to help the different stakeholders connect to each other, whether these are other economic activities or alternative approaches. Here are just a few examples from different countries.
Whether as a result of rising food prices, or simply because the world’s population is expected to continue growing, many projects and programmes are specifically focusing on food security and on the need to produce more food. Yet quantities are not all that matter. Are we paying enough attention to the quality of the food being produced? Our partners describe how this issue is being addressed in Peru, India and China.
Trees bring many benefits, even if these are not immediately visible and not all farmers recognise it. Here are some examples from different parts of the world about how trees help increase production and incomes.