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For sol from jpm

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For sol from jpm

  1. 1. Hunger, Disasters andwhat we can suggest to help: SFAA 2013Joan Mencherwith assistance from D. Schneider1
  2. 2. A few essential explanations• There are two different kinds of hunger disasters:– 1. Resulting from something sudden, a local war, anearthquake, a tsunami, Hurricane Sandy, etc. Thiskind of disaster usually provokes relatively rapidresponses around the world.– 2. long-term, slowly advancing changes that affectwater availability, or the gradual loss of agriculturalland to “developers”, to growing biofuels or loss ofland to the wealthy, or ignoring the gradual increasein CO2 in the atmosphere, etc. i.e. what we see inmany places on this globe.2
  3. 3. In the second case, I refer to the potential for gradualpersistent malnutrition, especially if governments arenot willing to step in and provide for those who arelosing out. Remembering what it took during theDepression of the 1930‟s to begin to change life formost people in the US, and the vital role played bygovernment projects like the CCC under PresidentRoosevelt.It must also be noted that in the second case, persistenthunger and mal-nutrition, we most often refer todisadvantaged groups of people, castes in India, racialminorities in the US, as well as widows with children,people with handicaps, etc.3
  4. 4. My talk today focuses on the latter kind ofdisaster and the policies that breed hungerI will cover several things that areinterrelated.• The Struggle for Food Sovereignty:Small Farms Versus Corporate Agriculture,GMOs and Climate Change; India‟s CentralGovernment Policies Versus the States• What is happening to world agriculture?• What can India learn from China’s mistakesin following the US model?4
  5. 5. 5Differing Paradigms of Development, Feedingthe World and Eliminating Poverty• Multinational corporationscontrol most operations.Main goal is to sell inputs:fertilizers, herbicides, seedsand pesticides.• Large corporate farmersfocusing on global, ratherthan local markets; contractfarmers with little autonomy.• Mono-cropping and failing tointercrop and rotate crops• In both US and “developing”countries, focus on familyfarms, small/medium-sizedfarms and cooperative farmsproducing for local market aswell as nearby urban centers.• Combining the best oftraditional farming withecologically sound advancessuch as SRI/SCI and ways ofincreasing root stamina.Corporate model Alternatives
  6. 6. Flexibility of farming communities in dealingwith climate irregularities vs. Industrial model• Inflexible about what is grown. I.E.Focus on corn and soybeans foranimal feed & biofuel, designed forprofit by producers of chemicalsand seeds.• Under US influence, China usessubsidies on grains for animal feedand biofuels. (Grain article) Whilegrain yields increased by 10%, useof inorganic fertilizers increased51% (1996-2005).• IOWA Drought 2012: exacerbatedby lack of water conservation,absence of soil biota produced byindustrial mono-cropping.• Farmers can easily switch tovarious millets, as they did whenrains were sparse in 2012 in TamilNadu and can also includevegetables and tree crops in poly-cropping strategies.• Tend to grow several varieties ofrice or wheat depending on theparticular soil conditions.• Data on 4-crop rotation studiedby Iowa state University andUniversity of Minnesota, showingequal yields with reductions intoxicity of freshwater runoff.Industrial Model SRI Model6
  7. 7. • Fertilizer and pesticide run-off: threat to lakes, rivers,and diverse bodies of water.• Excessive Tillage: negativelyaffects soil biota, especiallythose living directly underthe soil like earthworms.Industrial Agriculture leads to… SRI agriculture leads to…7• Greater biodiversity.• Deeper root systems , allowingaccess to moisture and othernutrients.• Protection against rainfallvariation (droughts/ hurricanes)• Greater resilience of farmingcommunities.
  8. 8. Indian approaches being pushed by PM and otherwestern educated economists (of all parties)•Present plans call for moving over 400,000farming families off the land in two States, TamilNadu and Uttar Pradesh, in order to set up SEZ‟s.Yet a case study in Rajasthan shows that forsmaller farmers it leads to a significant decreasein quality of diet, including more malnutrition. Onlya few larger landowners are benefiting.•Just as family farmers are fighting for their role inthe current US farm bill, so are advocates forIndian smaller farms fighting government plans.8
  9. 9. •Massive march for Land Justice occurred inIndia, in summer of 2012, with 50,000 of India‟spoorest walking in worn sandals or bare feet350 miles from Gwalior to Delhi. It was growingtowards 100,000 when the government offeredto meet their demand.•9
  10. 10. March for Land Justice (continued)• A similar March in 2007 led to the government setting up acommission, which did nothing.• This time demand for action is intense…As some stated,we need “To make sure India‟s rise as a global economyisn‟t achieved on the backs of its poorest!”• My question is: Will corporate pressure underminepromises made by the Government, unless people arepersistent? Access to land for the poor goes against theplans of the central government and some state govts.• With elections coming up and a two-day strike in February2013 (the first since the Independence Movement)occurring all over the country, poorer people aredetermined to make their needs known and to demandaction. 10
  11. 11. To cope with climate change•All farming systems will need to beenvironmentally sound (no damage to theenvironment), socially responsible, andeconomically viable for all farmersregardless of size. Growing need to fight theimportation of the US food system to India.•All systems will need to focus on soils, notprimarily inputs.11
  12. 12. Uphoff notes the many benefits from SRI/SCImanagement practices which include:• Water saving• Cost reduction• Resistance to pests and diseases• Tolerance of drought, storm damage and other effects of climatechange• Higher milling outrun of polished rice from paddy• The many benefits we are learning exist from soil organisms• Resistance to pests and diseases• Tolerance of drought and storm damage plus other effects ifclimate change• High milling outrun of polished rice from paddy• Uphoff also notes that the phenotypes produced using SRI/SCImanagement methods are superior to those produced by“conventional processes”.12
  13. 13. What SRI does•SRI truly challenges the paradigm for agriculturethat the US and its corporations (including Indianbranches and Indian corporations) have beenpushing.•Even unimproved (not hybrid) varieties,supplemented by vermicompost, green manureand other organic inputs, can give very high yieldswith SRI/SCI management--up to 6-12 tonnes perHC--at lower cost, and often with higher marketprice, since the taste meets local preferences13
  14. 14. What else does SRI do?•Noting the importance of attending to soilorganisms, Uphoff goes on to state that:• “the orthodoxy of modern agriculture–that the only orbest way to „feed the world‟ is through modifiedgenetics and increased agrochemical inputs–is not theonly game in town. . . . The performance of SRI (andSWI, SSI, STI, etc.) plus the advances made inmicrobiology should bring these new ways of thinkingand farming back into the mainstream in the next andfuture decades.14
  15. 15. Moving beyond this, what cananthropologists do?• First of all, we can document programs such as SRI/SCIand CMSA (program specific to Andhra Pradesh which Ihave talked about elsewhere) and how they spread andwhat the bottlenecks are.• Carry out further analysis of places where SRI isfunctioning, and connect those processes to social life inits worldwide regional variants, including some of thereasons why it has been quite successful in some areaswhere there are larger farms and not in others, and tohelp improve communication between people--farmersand consumers–especially to help bridge the gapbetween poor farmers and the middle class.15
  16. 16. Reaching PolicyPlanners• Influencing people in third world countrieswho have some power who do not know whatis happening with US agriculture or whatalternatives exist and keep on drawing moreand more support in the US.• Working to influence policy planners in the USas well as India at the state and centralgovernment levels.16

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