The recent food crisis in many poor countries is due to the dismantlement of the developing nations’ state support for local agriculture, and opening up to liberalised international food trade, as promoted by the international financial institutions.
Much of agricultural policy is rooted in a view that considers small farms as inefficient. Efficiency and productivity in agriculture, it is argued, can only be delivered by consolidating land, using advanced technology, investing in large-scale irrigation and massive fertilization, and encouraging monoculture in big-scale farms.
Poor young men, slumdwellers and single mothers are hurt the most by anti-drug policies in Latin America, according to representatives of governments, social organisations and multilateral bodies meeting at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies held in San José, Costa Rica. Activists, experts and decision-makers from throughout the region demanded reforms of these policies, to ease the pressure on vulnerable groups and shift the focus of law enforcement measures to those who benefit the most from the drug trade.
Two papers analysing the recent experience of Latin America, and Cuba in particular, support arguments that a shift from industrial-large scale farming to small-scale farming can bring environmental, economic and political benefits.
Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to Hilal Elver, UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The Bangkok-based Sino-Thai company Choern Pakard Group (CP Group), Asia's largest and most prominent agro-food/feed corporation, has led an industrial maize contract farming scheme with (ex-)poppy upland smallholders in Shan State, northern Myanmar to supply China’s chicken-feed market. Thailand, as a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and regional powerhouse, has long-tapped China’s phenomenal economic growth and undersupplied consumer demand.
The EU debt crisis foretells a more serious global debt crisis, caused by unlimited growth and the ongoing financial casino. Latin America's emerging financial and regional architecture offers hope for a new type of integration based on solidarity.
The water management situation in the region of Catalonia, Spain is catastrophic. The omnipresence of the private water sector is creating hugely negative impacts at the economic, social and environmental levels. As a result, Catalan municipalities are being swept by the wave of water remunicipalisation that is taking place across the globe, and the drive to recover public management of water systems is gaining force.