Tag Archives: agribussines

Family Farming in Latin America and the Caribbean

Family farming in Latin America and the Caribbean: looking for new paths of rural development and food security [March, 2016]
(Sergio Schneider, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)

family-farmingAt the present moment in history, humanity is faced with several major challenges, one of them being that of feeding an increasingly populous and urbanised planet. The challenge is even greater as it becomes clearer that it is not just a matter of producing enough fibres and
primary products that can be processed into food to feed everyone. It is also worth noting that huge numbers of people still live under conditions of food insecurity, having restricted or scarce access to an appropriate supply of food. Generally speaking, people are increasingly
more reflective, demanding and vigilant. As there are claims for sufficient food supply to feed everyone, there is also a growing awareness that food should be produced using renewableenergy, with decreasing use of chemical additives (pesticides). Food security and sustainable
development are not opposites but, rather, complementary concepts.

How will agriculture produce, through environmentally sustainable ways, healthier food to supply the urban population of the planet? Who will produce these foods, and which farmers and which production systems are the most appropriate to meet this challenge? Obviously there is no ultimate answer to these questions yet, but this is undoubtedly one of this millennium’s greatest issues (Pretty 2010; IFPRI 2010; HLPE 2012; IAASTD 2009; The Economist 2011). Para acceder al texto completo family-farming-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean

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Agroecología Campesina para la Soberanía Alimentaria – La Vía Campesina

Cuaderno No. 7 LVCLa Vía Campesina se complace en presentar el cuaderno de estudio número 7: “Agroecología Campesina para la Soberanía Alimentaria y la Madre Tierra, experiencias de La Vía Campesina” es cual es fruto de la construcción colectiva de las diversas organizaciones en las distintas regiones como África, América, Europa, Asia, que hacen parte de nuestro movimiento alrededor del mundo, quienes desde sus territorios plasmaron en 10 artículos sus experiencias en torno a la formación en agroecología, en la organización, en la producción y en la comercialización de alimentos sanos. Este conjunto de experiencias representan un proceso dinámico de prácticas y generación de conocimientos, tanto para formación al interior de nuestro movimiento, como para el intercambio de saberes y el diálogo campo-ciudad.

Además, este cuaderno busca visibilizar a la Soberanía Alimentaria desde su práctica para la incidencia política, que genere espacios de reflexión, con instancias académicas, políticas, aliados y amigos. Proponemos a la Agroecología Campesina como un modo de producción para el campo, donde la Soberanía Alimentaria se constituye en un principio de vida.

Año: Noviembre 2015

Para descargar el texto completo click Agroecología Campesina (Español  y también disponible en Francés e Inglés)

La Via Campesina is pleased to present study booklet number 7: Peasant Agroecology for Food Sovereignty and Mother Earth, experiences of La Via Campesina, which is the result of the collective efforts of various organizations from diverse regions including Africa, America, Europe and Asia. These groups make up part of our worldwide movement. From their distinct territories they shaped their experiences in agroecology training, organizing, production and marketing of healthy foods into 10 articles. This set of experiences represents a dynamic range of practices and knowledge, both for training within our movement and as a mechanism for additional knowledge exchange and rural-city dialogue.

This book also seeks to provide visibility of advocacy for Food Sovereignty which creates space for reflection, with examples from academic institutions, political allies and friends. We propose Peasant Agroecology as a way of production for rural communities, where Food Sovereignty constitutes a principle of life. Full text available here Peasant Agroecology

Enlace de la Via Campesina



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Basic Criticism to an “Ecomodernist Manifesto”

This post was taken from (Mayo 6, 2015)

A Degrowth Response to an Ecomodernist Manifesto

Jeremy Caradonna et al.

A group known as the “ecomodernists,” which includes prominent environmental thinkers and development specialists such as Ted Nordhaus, Michael Shellenberger, Stewart Brand, David Keith,and Joyashree Roy has recently published a statement of principles called An Ecomodernist Manifesto (2015). Many of the authors of the Manifesto are connected to an influential think tank called The Breakthrough Institute.

The Manifesto is an attempt to lay out the basic message of ecomodernism, which is an approach to development that emphasizes the roles of technology and economic growth in meeting the world’s social, economic, and ecological challenges. The ecomodernists “reject” the idea “that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse,” and instead argue that what is needed is a reliance on technologies, from nuclear power to carbon capture and storage, that allow for a “decoupling [of] human development from environmental impacts.”

The Manifesto has already received strong criticism from an array of commentators, but none of these assessments has yet critiqued it from the perspective of “degrowth,” which is an approach that sees the transit ion to sustainability occurring through less environmentally impactful economic activities and a voluntary contraction of material throughput of the economy, to reduce humanity’s aggregate resource demands on the biosphere. From a degrowth perspective, technology is not viewed as a magical savior since many technologies actually accelerate environmental decline.

DegrowthWith these disagreements in mind, a group of over fifteen researchers from the degrowth scholarship community has written a detailed refutation of the Ecomodernist Manifesto which can be read here: Criticisms to An Ecomodernist Manifesto

The following is a summary of the seven main points made by the authors of this critique:

1.The Manifesto assumes that growth is a given. The ecological economists associated with degrowth assume that growth is not a given, and that population growth, inequalities, and the decline of cheap and abundant fossil fuels, which spurred the unprecedented growth of the global economy over the past century, means that the limits to growth are either being reached or will be reached in the very near future. The ecomodernists, by contrast, scoff at the idea of limits to growth, arguing that technology will always find a way to overcome those limits. Graham Turner, Ugo Bardi, and numerous others have shown through empirical research that many of the modeled scenarios, and the fundamental thesis, of the Club of Rome remain as relevant as ever—that is, that the human endeavor is bumping up against natural limits. Richard Heinberg has shown that theproduction of conventional oil, natural gas, and heavy oil all peaked around 2010, despite, but also due to, continued global reliance on fossil fuels, which still make up over 80% of the world’s primary source of energy. The history of industrialism to date suggests that more growth will be coupled with increasing environmental costs. Thus the Manifesto does nothing to question and rethink the growth fetish that has preoccupied (and negatively impacted) the world since at least the 1940s.

2. Ecomodernists believe in the myth of decoupling growth from impacts. Long the fantasy of neoclassical economists, industrialists, and many futurists decoupling is the idea that one can have more of the “good stuff” (economic growth, increased population, more consumption) without any of the “bad stuff” (declines in energy stocks, environmental degradation, pollution, and so forth). Yet to date, there has been no known society that has simultaneously expanded economic activity while reducing absolute energy consumption and environmental impacts. In terms of carbon-dioxide emissions, the only periods over the past century in which global or regional emissions have actually declined absolutely have occurred during periods of decreased economic activity (usually a political crisis, war, or a recession). While it is true that many countries have reduced their carbon intensity in recent decades, meaning that they get more bang for their energy buck, efforts to decouple GDP-growth from environmental degradation through technological innovations and renewable energies have failed to achieve the absolute emissions reductions and reductions in aggregate environmental impacts necessary for a livable planet. In short, absolute decoupling hasnot occurred and has not solved our problems.

degrowth escape3.Is technology the problem or the solution? The ecomodernists cannot decide. The Manifesto is open and honest about the impact that modern technologies have had on the natural world, and especially emissions from fossil-fueled machines. However, as an act of desperation, the ecomodernists retreat to the belief that risky, costly, and underachieving technologies, such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, will solve the climate crisis and energize the sustainable society of the future. The reality, however, is that nuclear power provides less than 6 percent of the world’s energy needs while creating long-term storage nightmares and present-day environmental hazards. We cite Chernobyl and Fukushima as obvious examples. From the point of view of degrowth, more technology is not (necessarily) the solution. The energy crisis can be addressed only by reductions in throughput, economic activity, and consumption, which could then (and only then) create the possibility of powering global society via renewables.

4. Ecomodernism is not very “eco.” Ecomodernism violates everything we know about ecosystems, energy, population, and natural resources. Fatally, it ignores the lessons of ecology and thermodynamics, which teach us that species (and societies) have natural limits to growth. The ecomodernists, by contrast, brazenly claim that the limits to growth is a myth, and that human population and the economy could continue to grow almost indefinitely. Moreover, the ecomodernists ignore or downplay many of the ecological ramifications of growth. The Manifesto has nothing to say about the impacts of conventional farming, monoculture, pesticide-resistant insects, GMOs, and the increasing privatization of seeds and genetic material. It is silent on the decline of global fisheries or the accumulation of microplastic pollution in the oceans, reductions in biodiversity, threats to ecosystem services, and the extinction of species. Nor does it really question our reliance on fossil fuels. It does argue that societies need to “decarbonize,” but the Manifesto also tacitly supports coal, oil and natural gas by advocating for carbon capture and storage. Far from being an ecological statement of principles, the Manifesto merely rehashes the naïve belief that technology will save us and that human ingenuity can never fail. One fears, too, that the ecomodernists support geoengineering.

5.The Manifesto has a narrow, inaccurate, and whitewashed view of both “modernity” and “development.” The degrowth 2Manifesto’s assertions rest on the belief that industrialized modernity has been an undivided blessing. Those who support degrowth have a more complex view of history since the 18th century. The “progress” of modernity has come at a heavy cost, and is more of a mixed blessing. The ecomodernists do not acknowledge that growth in greenhouse gas emissions parallels the development of industry. The core assumption is that “development” has only one true definition, and that is to “modernize” along the lines of the already industrialized countries. The hugely destructive development path of European and Neo-European societies is the measuring stick of Progress.

6.Ecomodernism is condescending toward pre-industrial, agrarian, non-industrialized societies, and the Global South.The issue of condescension is particularly stark in the Manifesto. There is not a word about religion, spirituality, or indigenous ecological practices, even though the authors throw a bone to the “cultural preferences” for development. Pre-industrial and indigenous peoples are seen as backwards and undeveloped. The authors go so far as to say that humans need to be “liberated” from agricultural labor, as though the production of food, and small-scale farming, were not inherent goods. There is no adoration for simple living, the small scale, or bottom up approaches to development.

7. The Manifesto suffers from factual errors and misleading statements. The Manifesto is particularly greenwashed when it comes to global deforestation rates. It suggests that there is currently a “net reforestation” occurring at the international scale, which contradicts the 2014 Millennium Development Report that shows that afforestation and reforestation have, in fact, slowed deforestation rates, but that the world still suffered a net loss of forested land between 2000 and 2010 by many millions of hectares. Research by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Wide Fund for Nature confirms the reality of net forest losses. Further, the Manifesto makes dubious claims about net reductions in “servitude” over the past few centuries, and the role played by pre-historical native peoples in driving the megafauna to extinction.

In sum, the ecomodernists provide neither a very inspiring blueprint for future development strategies nor much in the way of solutions to our environmental and energy woes.The full critique document was authored and endorsed by Jeremy Caradonna, Iris Borowy, Tom Green, Peter A. Victor, Maurie Cohen, Andrew Gow, Anna Ignatyeva, Matthias Schmelzer, PhilipVergragt, Josefin Wangel, Jessica Dempsey, Robert Orzanna, Sylvia Lorek, Julian Axmann, RobDuncan, Richard B. Norgaard, Halina S. Brown, Richard HeinbergRead the full document A Degrowth Response to an Ecomodernist Manifesto.This summary was originally published by, part of Post Carbon Institute’s Resilience program dedicated to building resilient communities as we transition away from fossil fuels

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El Estado del Arte de la Quinua en el Mundo 2013

Quinua“En su discurso con motivo del lanzamiento del Año Internacional de la Quinua, el Sr. José Graziano da Silva, Director General de la FAO, hizo alusión a la Quinua como un gran aliado en la lucha contra el hambre. En ese sentido, no solo para maximizar los beneficios de los aportes de este grano de oro, sino para comprender sus desafíos y riesgos asociados, necesitamos contar con los avances técnicos y científicos y en general, todo el conocimiento disponible de este noble cultivo y mejor alimento.

FAO en el año 2002, publicó en un primer gran esfuerzo el documento ‘Quinua (Chenopodium quinoa); ancestral cultivo andino, alimento del presente y futuro’. Sin embargo, en esta era tecnológica y habiendo transcurrido ya una década desde aquella publicación, nuevas investigaciones, innovaciones y conocimientos se han generado.

Por ello y en el marco del Año Internacional de la Quinua, se nos hizo indispensable hacer un nuevo esfuerzo para reunir los avances de estos últimos años en el conocimiento sobre la quinua, en este documento denominado “Estado del arte de la quinua en el mundo”. El objetivo es que este documento se convierta en consulta obligada para tomar mejores decisiones y más informadas sobre la quinua.

FAO ha convocado para esta labor al Centro de Cooperación Internacional en Investigación Agronómica para el Desarrollo (CIRAD, siglas en francés), quienes aceptaron el gran reto de buscar y coordinar con los autores de los capítulos que conforman este libro.”

Para acceder a la publicación completa click aqui La Quinua en el Mundo


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De nada! / You’re welcome!

De nada


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Leyes de Semillas y otros Pesares (GRAIN)

Retomando las palabras del grupo de Biodiversidad de GRAIN ( compartimos y “Dedicamos este documento a todas las comunidades y organizaciones que con denuedo y mucho empeño han insistido en defender ese corazón de la vida misma, esa llave de la alimentación y lLeyes de Semillasa independencia que son las semillas nativas “patrimonio de los pueblos al servicio de la humanidad”. Llevamos ya muchos años viendo crecer la andanada privatizadora, encarnada en leyes de semillas y modificaciones constitucionales que pretenden criminalizar la posesión, custodia, intercambio y utilización de semillas ancestrales; la imposición de sistemas de protección de los llamados derechos de obtentor de variedades vegetales, sabiendo que tales derechos de obtentor en realidad son “derechos” inventados para privilegiar a quienes se apropian de los bienes comunes que durante milenios eran colectivos porque ése era su secreto para mantenerse dinámicos y transformadores, que es lo que necesita la vida para florecer y volver a florecer.

Especialmente en América Latina, todo este ataque parece querer imponer condiciones que deshabiliten la actividad agrícola independiente, aunando su lógica con los paquetes de agroquímicos, la mecanización e industrialización monocultivadora y las tendencias de acaparamiento de tierras y agua más las fragmentaciones y el divisionismo implícito en los programas gubernamentales y en los contratos que las corporaciones quisieran imponer como modo de asociarse con comunidades y pueblos. Por fortuna, en el amplio espectro desde las comunidades más campesinas e indígenas hasta la academia y los circuitos de investigación, crece el malestar con este afán privatizador y se impulsa un cuestionamiento argumentado, una impugnación firme y la resistencia para enfrentar todos estos intentos por acaparar la clave del futuro: las semillas.

Este libro celebra esta extendida, emotiva y lúcida resistencia. Para acceder al libro completo click aqui: Leyes de Semillas y otros Pesares



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La Agricultura Familiar en América Latina – Un nuevo análisis comparativo

Compartimos la publicación titulada La Agricultura Familiar en América Latina – Un nuevo análisis comparativo, recientemente producida por FIDA y RIMISP (Julio, 2014)

La primera aclaración que ofrece esta publicación es:

“Las denominaciones empleadas en esta publicación y la forma en que aparecen presentados los datos que contiene no suponen, de parte del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola de las Naciones Unidas, juicio alguno sobre la condición jurídica de países, territorios, ciudades o zonas, o de sus autoridades, ni respecto de la delimitación de sus fronteras o límites. Las denominaciones “economías en desarrollo” y “economías desarrolladas” se utilizan a efectos estadísticos y no expresan necesariamente un juicio acerca de la fase alcanzada por un determinado país o zona en el proceso de desarrollo.”


fida_logoEn este capítulo se realiza una introducción general del estado actual de las discusiones sobre la agricultura familiar en Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala y México, como parte de un proyecto más amplio titulado “Análisis de pobreza y desigualdad rural en América Latina” que realizó RIMISP para el FIDA en 2013. Los análisis de la agricultura familiar se enfocaron en la comprensión de los procesos más generales que afectan la agricultura y el desarrollo rural en su conjunto en la región. El objetivo central fue estudiar las características de la agricultura familiar en estos seis países latinoamericanos y elaborar una tipología que permitiera comprender mejor la contribución de las actividades agropecuarias al conjunto de la economía rural. Los elementos teóricos y la metodología que se emplearon en la realización de estos estudios fueron elaborados a partir de los conocimientos compartidos de los autores responsables de cada estudio nacional, con el fin de establecer criterios e indicadores que permitieran trabajar de forma comparativa. Los resultados de los estudios señalan la importancia de la agricultura como actividad económica para la reproducción de estas unidades en todo el continente y demuestran que el conjunto de los agricultores familiares especializados es el grupo mayoritario en relación al total de las unidades productivas. Por otro lado, comprobamos que la función de residencia rural y la combinación de actividades y fuentes de ingresos es una característica importante que existe en todos los países estudiados, y que los ingresos y las actividades no agropecuarias de los agricultores familiares no son insignificantes, aunque son bajos. Finalmente, a pesar de la conocida heterogeneidad de la AF en cada país, los análisis permiten identificar desigualdades y diferencias importantes entre las distintas regiones y entre los países. El estudio también hace recomendaciones sobre la necesidad de mejorar las dinámicas intersectoriales y territoriales de la agricultura familiar, así como para pensar más allá de la puerta de entrada a la propiedad rural y construir políticas y acciones con un enfoque más amplio que incluyan el desarrollo rural y las políticas de seguridad alimentaria. Se determinó que no es suficiente reconocer la heterogeneidad, sino que es necesario cambiar el diseño de las políticas, lo cual requiere ajustes en los programas y en las acciones durante el proceso de ejecución.

Una recomendación final destaca la necesidad de mejorar las bases de datos y estandarizar las metodologías y las fuentes de información sobre la agricultura familiar en América Latina


1) Resumen

2) Introducción

3) Definiendo la agricultura familiar

4) Aspectos metodológicos

5) Características de la agricultura familiar en Brasil, Colombia,

6) Ecuador, Guatemala, México y Chile

7) Consideraciones sobre las semejanzas y diferencias de la agricultura familiar en América Latina

8) Recomendaciones de políticas para la agricultura familiar en América Latina

9) Agradecimientos

10) Bibliografía

Para acceder al texto completo de click aquí La Agricultura Familiar en América Latina


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