The Little Farmers will feed the world
It is now clear that a model of understanding our world is falling piece by piece; illusion after illusion. Deception after deception.
That Green revolution, initiated with the 1960 Treaty of Rome, which was supposed to feed the planet with industrial systems, technologies, GMOs and so on, does not work.
The dai are now under the eyes of all but the governments still speak of GDP, recovery and a whole series of news from “Regime” that, every passing day, convince less and less; and this is already good news: we are taking antibodies against piloted information.
The bulletin of war that instead tries to keep under the ashes speaks of more and more arid soils, of varieties more and more resistant to the chemical struggle, of water availability in decline, but above all the hunger in the world. Unfortunately, according to the latest data of 2016, 815 million people have suffered from hunger, 38 more than the previous year. The causes: climate change and conflicts.
These are the figures of the report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017” by the UN agencies: the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In detail, there are 520 in Asia, 243 million in Africa, 42 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
At the basis of such conclusive data, however, there are not only climatic causes and conflicts but a wrong vision of well-being.
A disastrous, ethically and scientifically medieval equation that is affecting all planetary resources. A theorem that suffers from reductionist principles that can be summarized in one word: Colonialism. Western and colonialist culture, thinks as a colonialist, acts as a colonialist, lives as a colonialist.
It is the common opinion of many scientists (many of these now dissidents) that today it would already be possible to feed all the inhabitants of the earth, only that we prefer to waste food and decrease the resources where it is produced. Capitalism, the application of this ideology has failed and the opposing ideology of the left has been lost in its contradictions.
What was missing? A policy that has seen Man at the center and not immediate profits.
And to highlight these distortions are not only scientists and men of conscience but Pope Francis that with the encyclical ‘Laudato si’ cites at various points the problems related to agriculture, and in particular praises the “variety of agricultural and small food systems scale that continues to feed the majority of the world’s population, using a small portion of land and water and producing less waste “.
To confirm these statements there are the data: Today from 50 to 75% of food, according to estimates, is produced by farmers in small plots. But they have less than 30% of the world’s arable land available, 30% of water and 20% of fossil fuels, while the rest goes to large industrial monocultures, subjected to the hidden and sometimes invisible lines of that free market. oppresses so much agriculture often defined and improperly “advanced”.
What would happen if we gave farmers 50% of agricultural land? Good question. The FAO data tell us that the small properties, if well cultivated, have a yield per square meter higher than that of large plantations: the secret lies in the use of traditional techniques, such as the rotation of crops and the exploitation of synergies: according to Miguel Altieri, a professor at Berkeley (University of California) just think that “A traditional paddy field in China does not only produce cereals, but also fish. The fish then feed on the parasites, allowing them not to use pesticides. In this model, man molds a real new ecological system, in which there is not only an edible species. So just one acre in the Mediterranean area (just over 4,046 square meters, less than half a hectare, ed) to feed a family of five people “. The principles of agroecology, however, based on an intelligent use of resources, can be applied according to Altieri even in large plots, as for example currently happens in some pilot farms of enormous proportions in Brazil of over 16,000 hectares and in other parts of the world.
In a few words it is necessary to rebuild, starting from a new conscience, a new agroecological knowledge, swept away by a generation of deluded technicians and scientists who could build an “Alternative World” to that of Nature. But nature does not forgive.
The challenge of agroecology is precisely that of combining the sciences: from entomology to ecology, through sociology and anthropology, with traditional knowledge, into a new system of knowledge where a “dialogue of knowledge” is established.
Unfortunately I have to testify that today 90% of the Faculty of Agriculture does not teach agroecology, and much less are the funds for this type of research. A situation that, however, with many variations is common to many countries and sadly real in Italy, perhaps the most humanist country (once) of history.
Fortunately on the horizon a glimmer of hope arises precisely from the conscience of an increasingly widespread dissent and first timid policies that return to incentivize the small agricultural property. It is becoming clear that this increases productivity while decreasing pollution, soil erosion and even crime. The system of small farms is an element of stability both for the environment and for society: this was for example to save countries in economic and political crisis like Cuba and Argentina. It also resists better to climate change and hurricanes.
But the powerful do not give up. On the opposite side there is the agribusiness, managed by giants like Monsanto and Cargill. These false knowledge diffusers have implemented intensive agriculture that is heavily dependent on external inputs: large amounts of energy, water, fertilizers and seeds. The monoculture is also inherently fragile: this is demonstrated by the great famine of potatoes in Ireland, but also by the recent maize outbreak in 1970: 13 million tons lost in a year. Pesticides and herbicides increasingly poison the soil, yet the harmful impact of weeds increases rather than decreases.
To this we must add that in industrial agriculture we must also take into account undeclared costs, for example in terms of emissions, contamination and soil erosion.
According to some, the solution would be to add more technology. But remember that most monocultures in developing countries do not serve to produce food but biofuels or fodder. Almost everything goes to Europe, USA or China: not a single hectare is used to feed the local populations but to create even more wealth of the multinationals.
Regarding biofuels, it must be underlined that, to give an example: the corn used to produce about 80 liters would feed a person for a whole year. As for biofuels, it would be better to use them directly for agricultural machines, as transport also costs a lot in terms of energy and pollution. But all this is practically not done.
In all the world, as mentioned, however, a renewed peasant movement grows. The peasants begin to ask for agrarian reforms, because often those who know how to cultivate do not have land, and vice versa. And the governments? The first answers begin: in Brazil a special Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário has been created. The peasants produce for themselves and for others, they recover the lands devastated by monoculture and deforestation. And little by little they are joining, overcoming isolation.
But in Italy we must still count with some Rural Development Programs (some of which are very poorly made and set up) that still speak of agro-industry and stupidities like that. In our country we must win the bad information, the resistance of farmers who think that only with intensive systems can we live and make ends meet. They told us beautiful stories, but the night is passing and it is time to declare that we want to reaffirm the only principle that makes the Man a Person. The principle of nature.