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Small Streams, Big Rivers

by afew Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 05:47:59 AM EST

5 Farmers Who Turned Their Lives Around With The P4P Pilot Project | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide

ROME—Over the past four years, the Purchase for Progress initiative has empowered thousands of families around the world overcome hunger and poverty by becoming better farmers.

It helps them to grow more and higher-quality food, become players in their local food markets, learn to manage risks and build communities able to feed themselves—even in times of crisis.

To be compared to our "we-feed-the-world" farm policy in Europe and North America, by which we subsidize exports of cheap grains that may be distributed by local elites, breaking local markets by a dumping effect. Or by large buy-outs of land (by China, for example, but not only) with the aim of creating plantations while local people (except for plantation wage-workers) leave for the mega-cities where there is no work.

Some examples given by P4P (Purchase for Progress):


Deo Bapfaguleka says that P4P helped the farmers in his cooperative tip the scales in their favour at the local market. “We used to add stones to our produce because we knew that the [merchants] were weighting their scales,” he said. “Now we work hard to ensure quality because we have a buyer who will pay us a fair price for our food.” Bapfaguleka says that with the extra money they earned selling food to WFP, they bought new, regulation scales so the traders wouldn’t be able to cheat them anymore.


For years, John Mbalule used to sell his crop right after he harvested it, when prices were lowest, because he didn’t have anywhere to store them. That’s changed with a new warehousing system made available to farmers like him through P4P. “Now we can store our maize and sell it when the price is good,” he says. That means more money for him and more food on the local markets between one harvest and the next.


Angelo lives far away from the nearest market and never used to sell his crops at all until P4P gave him a reliable customer. In addition to learning how to become a commercial farmer, he’s made enough money to build a new house and pay his children’s school feels. “I also bought a mobile phone to communicate with other farmers in the village,” he said.

Increasing the technical capacity of small farmers and developing local markets looks like the way forward.

(h/t the stormy present)

Putting an end to poverty and hunger (as opposed to emergency action) is not, as it's often seen from the rich countries, a matter of sharing out our excess. It's a matter of empowering the poor and hungry.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 05:55:34 AM EST
good news... i would like to see more support for small farms in europe too.

the big ag model we run here is an insult to mother earth.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 07:48:50 AM EST
MEPs back a less green, more 'flexible' CAP | EurActiv
The European Parliament's agriculture committee has voted to weaken key environmental proposals made by the European Commission while agreeing to reduce subsidies to big farms. These and other proposals will be considered by the full Parliament in March.

If I understand correctly, it weakens the proposals, but is still better then status quo. So as it stands it is a step forward. Capping cap and redistributing to greening projects also shows that some in Brussels reads ET. Parliament votes in March.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 02:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMO the most important first step is to cap the CAP, ie stop handing money out to the biggest landowners. Concomitantly, recalculate CAP subsidies to the advantage of smaller units, including in the mix the number of workers employed on the farm.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 03:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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