Posted by: r.m. | December 18, 2008

which farmers? whose agriculture?

Two things to note of late, both of which demonstrate the need to speak clearly, to recognize the particular communities impacted by particular policies and not to speak of broad strokes.

“good for the environment”

“good for agriculture”

“good for farmers”

what does that mean, actually? whose environment? agriculture for whom? which farmers?

here is one example: small farmers and the impact of climate change mitigation policies.

“Sarwadi Sukiman, a small farmer from Sumatra (Indonesia) [shared] his experience in Poznan during the United Nations climate talks, as part of the Via Campesina delegation. His story shows what happens when plans such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) are implemented and what impacts they have on small farmer’s lives. REDD is a new mechanism negotiated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that provides funding to developing countries to protect forests in order to capture carbon and stabilise the climate. This carbon trading mechanism is getting a lot of international support at the Poznan conference. However, the real impact of such programmes on peasants and indigenous peoples is disastrous.”

and then there is the story of the man Obama has chosen as Secretary of Agriculture. Of course – such a position impacts agriculture worldwide, and agriculture impacts climate change, and climate change impacts us all in different ways.

As reported by the Institute for Public Accuracy, President-elect Obama is nominating Tom Vilsack, a former governor
of Iowa, to be secretary of agriculture.

a resarch biologist at the Global Justice Ecology Project, Smolker
said today: “Vilsack’s appointment is tremendously disappointing to those of us working to oppose ‘agrofuels.’ He has been a staunch proponent of corn and soy based fuels even as over a billion people are starving and mountains of evidence have demonstrated that turning plant matter, (edible or not) into fuel contributes to climate change and ecosystem degradation. Vilsack, darling of Monsanto and the biotechnology industry’s ‘governor of the year,’ will attempt to pave the way for a massive upscale of industrial agriculture and biotechnology under the guise of ‘renewable energy.'”



  1. “Deforestation, which is one of the main causes of global warming, is not made by peasants and indigenous people, but by large companies that are given the right to commercially exploit the forest.”
    this sentence is so true..
    the good side is that companies and governments are starting to think of solutions for the climate change.. the bad side is that they are not aware of the damage they are causing for the small farmers.
    but is there really an intermediate solution? is there someone who can find a solution for the deforestation and at the same time, who can really care about all the lives of the small peasants and farmers?
    the last paragraph discuss those questions, and give the answers raised by the peasants of Via Campesina , but i’m not sure if the big companies really care of what they think…

  2. It’s good to see that governments and companies are trying to implement solutions for climate change.But it isn’t fair for the rich to think of solutions and fund them and then implement them in developing countries,harming indeginous people and small farmers.They shouldn’t have to pay the prices for the mistakes made by the developed countries while the rich continue doing business as usual.I repeat,it’s nice to see people making the effort but if it’s going to harm others, then think of another solution!I’m sure if people are politically and economically willing, many different solutions can be thought of.

  3. Please give me a break!! At least the guy is trying to find some kind of solution, that, by itself, is a termendous step forward in the war against environment degradation and global warming…
    Is using biofuels really that harmful?? I had a completely different opinion on the subject. Could someone please enlighten me??

  4. Dude, just chill!!!! Panadol is good for stopping headaches when ingested. But seriously try to dissolve Panadol in water and inject it into your arm…….my point is that biofuels are a great solution for combating climate change but it should be used in the right place and under the right conditions. People with money tend to make more money even if it means throwing away their morals and values. Monsanto people are those people. And when they hide behind honorable causes and consider the world is stupid enough not to know what is really going on, then the fan gets dirty. What we need to watch out as academics, is not to be taken away by the goodness and fake objectivity of whatever we read or hear about, but to use our mind and practice critcal thinking. This is how we can actually make a difference, because we solve half of the problem when we find it’s source.

  5. How are biofuels a great solution for combating climate change, Rafik?

    -Rania Masri

  6. Hi Dr.
    Biofuels can replace oil as a source of energy, just like it is happening in Brazil. They don’t emit as much greenhouse gases as fossil fuels. However they still cause problems for poor farmers and they still emit CO2. I will need to read further on the subject.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: