a magazine on ecological agriculture
a one stop treasure of practical field experiences

New books – Family farmers breaking out of poverty

Building a new agricultural future: Supporting agro-ecology for people and the planet

Oxfam, April 2014, Oxfam Issue Briefing, www.oxfam.org

Climate change and the injustice of hunger require urgent attention, and investment in a model of agriculture that is truly sustainable. Agro-ecology is the science of applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture. An agroecological approach provides a range of social, economic, and environmental benefits that, with the right policy support and associated investments, can be scaled up to enable smallholder farming communities to achieve food security.

Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems: Technical Report for the post-2015 Development Agenda

Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 18 September 2013, www.unsdsn.org

It is hard to exaggerate the role that agriculture plays in human development. This report shows the multi–faceted contributions of the global food system to all pillars of sustainable development in the post–2015 era. It recognizes the need to eradicate poverty and hunger in our generation, and it also points out the importance of having an integrated agricultural and rural development goal in the sustainable development agenda.

The report aims to outline principles for developing more specific solutions that are adaptable to local realities. Perhaps the only commonality of agricultural systems worldwide is that they provide that most critical resource, food. Beyond this, agricultural systems are incredibly diverse, with crops, livestock, climates, soils, tools, and technology varying from country to country and even farm to farm.

Therefore, we have tried our best to avoid generic prescriptions of any kind. One–size–fits– all solutions are unlikely to work and solutions will need to be tailored to address regional and site–specific barriers to sustainability. This adaptation process will require the engagement of diverse stakeholders and sectors. This report has benefitted from substantial input from many people, including the members of the Thematic Group and hundreds of suggestions received from experts representing all sectors of agriculture and food systems.

The authors have inevitably brought their biases to the document, and perhaps focused primarily on science and technology solutions. To many, entering a sustainable development path for agriculture. And food seems like a daunting challenge. We believe that it is feasible. The overarching motive for this report is to encourage people to act, despite the enormous challenges.

Gandhian Approach to Rural Prosperity

Narayan Hegde, March 2014, BAIF Development Research Foundation, 206 p, Rs.100

Rural development has been the national priority ever since the independence of India. The Government of India has been launching various schemes through the Five Year Plans, over the last five decades. No doubt, these schemes have benefitted millions of rural families to improve their livelihood. Neverthless, about 270 million people, representing 22% of the total population, were living in poverty in 2013.

Development is an ongoing process where there is scope for improvement in efficiency and outcome. However, sustainability is the key parameter to measure the success, which can be ensured by involving participant families right from the stage of planning and encourage them to assume greater responsibility. This will provide them ownership. Once they realize the opportunities they will not mind working hard and mobilizing all their available resources for the success. This book covers various components of agricultural development, where BAIF has been working over the last five decades.