Neoliberalism, Modern Technology and the State of the World’s Farmers
Ploughing Up the Farm brings together an impressive array of evidence to show that neoliberalism and modern technology underlie recent trends: rural depopulation in the North, rising rural poverty in the South and environmental problems all around the farming world. Market-driven growth and trade liberalization have encouraged production for agricultural export, and the growing use of chemical inputs are often biased against Third World farmers and small farmers everywhere. Jerry Buckland calls for farm policies founded on farmer-led food security and a democratization of the global institutions that have had detrimental effects on the world’s farmers.
The Tropical Commodities Disaster
Many countries in the South have been encouraged to grow coffee, sugar, cotton and other crops, but small farmers get only a tiny share of the final price of these commodities in the North. As prices collapse, the terms of trade between North and South have widened. This investigation, by one of the leading authorities on commodity trading, analyzes the current trading arrangements and their disastrous effect on foreign exchange earnings, tax revenues and economic growth in developing countries. Possible solutions are being proffered–from exploitation of niche markets to more radical notions like fair trade–but Peter Robbins shows how they all fail to measure up to the scale of the disaster facing the Third World. He argues that developing countries must bring supply and demand into a better balance that will secure far higher and more stable prices than today.
Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness
There has been much discussion about the quality of food being provided by global agribusiness and the serious environmental impact it produces. The benefits of fostering a local food production are often dismissed, but it would address a range of health, social and environmental problems. The authors argue if the trend of large agribusiness were thought about rather than accepted without question, then local food production would be seen as a viable means of supplementing this existing system. They do not hesitate to suggest that the current system is unsustainable and does not provide real choice. Local food has a cultural context unique to where it is grown. The production of local food secures rural opportunities instead of forcing people to search for alternative livelihoods in urban areas. Local food production also eliminates many of the costs involved in transporting food across the country and around the world. This book presents a thoughtful argument that calls for a more conscientious and active role for people at the local level of food production.
The Need for a New Agriculture
What kind of agriculture do we need to feed the world? World leaders have come up with yet another target-to half, not end, hunger by the year 2015. How is this to be achieved when other such targets were ignored? And what about animal diseases like BSE, foot and mouth disease and salmonella; declining food variety and quality; and disappearing topsoil, hedgerows and biodiversity in rural areas? Better acces to land and more equitable income distribution are part of the solution. The other is to move away from monoculture production system monopolized by a handful of giant corporations. John Madeley argues for the spread of a low-external input approach, a reintegration of traditional farming techniques, new farming practices like organic agriculture and permaculture, and a range of ‘green’ technologies to offer a more viable livelihood too farmers, food for the hungry, and safe and good tasting food for the rest of us.
The Threat of Transgenic Crops to Farmers in the South
Consumers have taken the lead in rejecting the biotech industry’s determination to foist GMOs on an unsuspecting and unconsulted public. This book gives a voice for the first time to farmers. They are the people being pressured by half a dozen giant corporations to grow these genetically engineered crops. What are the possible downsides for them, particularly for those hundreds of millions of farmers living in the developing countries? On their environment? On their health? On their independence? On their tenuous hold in the marketplace?
Does Trade Help or Hinder Food Security?
The WTO agreement on Agriculture will be reviewed beginning in the year 2000. This begs some basic questions: Will free trade in food help or hinder the ability of hundreds of millions of poor people who are currently malnourished? Or will it chiefly benefit transnational corporations? Will free trade help huge numbers of small farmers find new markets in the North? Or will it in fact eliminate them even from the marketplace in their own countries as cheap, subsidized food from the North floods the countries of the South? Is it really irrational for countries -North and South, rich and poor-to protect their rural communities and farmers, and ensure significant self-sufficiency in food production?
Ecological Collapse and the Social Organization of Fishing in Northwest Newfoundland, 1982-1995
The Gulf Coast fisheries off Northwest Newfoundland provide a graphic example of the social and biological consequences of the failure to create conditions that would allow for fishing on a sustainable basis. This book shows how an ecological crisis has produced a social crisis threatening the viability of fishers, the fish plants where they sold their fish, and the communities in which they live. It is set in the context of the North Atlantic fisheries and of primary resource producing rural areas in mature capitalist societies.
Cargill and Its Transnational Strategies
Transnational corporations(TNCs) straddle the globe, largely unseen by the public. Cargill is the epitome of transnational corporation - the largest private corporation in North America, and possibly in the world, it trades in all agricultural commodities and produces and processes a great many of them.
Globalization, Community and the Moral Economy of the Farm Crisis
“Recalling the fascinating history of rural protests in seventeenth to nineteenth century England, (Lind) argues that today’s crisis has as much to do with morals and ethics as with economics.”-Kim Cariou, People’s Voice