These crops are usually luxury high profit items such as flowers, beef, shrimp, cotton, coffee, and soybeans cultivated for export to well-fed countries. In addition, monocultures are notoriously vulnerable to insect blights and bad weather, and greatly contribute to soil infertility."
Saving Farms - Feeding the Hungry
The answers to this dilemma in feeding the hungry masses are various and diverse depending upon whom is inquired of. However, the only credible solution is to develop sustainability in the local communities, towns and villages of the world. Empowering local individuals in the cultivation and harvesting of their own food. This will take initiatives that until now are only in the imagination of a few and the reality of even fewer.
In the years long gone the family farmer was the backbone of the structure of the world's food supply chain. Planting each year in the spring and toiling through the changing of the season to early summer and on into the season of harvest, the family farmer experienced drought and hardship and the blessed boom crops that saw the grains and other food products overflowing at markets. However, the larger agricultural corporations started buying out the smaller independent farmers until they have become almost extinct and as well the art and gift of growing is one that got lost along the way. In years gone by the farmer's sons and daughters would follow him in the business perpetuating generation after generation and maintaining the precious and priceless food supply that the world counted on so heavily. As stated with such clarity in one report, "Free trade threatens to drive half the world's farmers off the Land, even though they hold the key to feeding the world and protecting the environment" (Bessieres, et al. 2001)
One of the major problems is what is called "Agro-business" Stated in the report of Bessieres, et al. 2001 is, "Agro-business" is relatively recent: it did not become widespread in developed countries until after the Second World War. Until then, family farming had predominated since the agrarian reform that followed the dismantling of feudal properties. Agro-business relies on increasingly advanced technology based on mechanization, chemistry (fertilizers and herbicides), the selection of seeds and ever-costlier investments. The results are mixed.
Another developing problem is the presence of the genetically modified crops that are being engineered and planted worldwide. These crops are know to cause sterility in naturally gown crops and this in itself has the potential to cause a situation whereby, even if people today knew how to grow crops should these GM crops continue to be used eventually the potential exists for every living food product could be rendered non-producible normal farm-grown means due to sterility in the region.
Summary and Conclusion
The crisis of hungry people is at an all time high while food production is flailing. This has many reasons behind it but one major barrier to small farmers and their production of food is the atmosphere of 'Protectionism that is at an all-time high on a world wide basis. The work entitled, " the Political Economy of Land Degradation: Pressure Groups, Foreign Aid and the Myth of Man-made Deserts" relates information concerning the international political elements behind the Convention to Combat Desertification. In this work it is argue by Morris that the primary causes of land degradation are the "actions of political entrepreneurs, aid agencies, and governments of developing countries who misuse 'aid' money. He concludes that only when individuals are permitted to own property, especially land and water, to engage in free trade, and to resolve disputes through customary law, will the problems of land degradation, poverty, and hunger be reduced to acceptable levels." (International Policy Network, 2005) in other words, the farmers of the world must be encouraged, empowered and simply 'allowed' to do what they do best - to grow crops undisturbed and this must be done immediately and expediently if world is to see any improvement in the present conditions of poverty and hunger.
Linsmeier-Wurfel, Sara (2005) Michigan agriculture bucking national trends -- Number of small Michigan farms on slow rise; total number of farms and farmland acres remain unchanged Online at http://www.michigan.gov/mda/1,1607,7-125--26841 -- ,00.html
Eight Myths of Economic Globalization (2005) World Trade Observer, Seattle, WA Online available at http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Eight%0Myths%20of%20Economic%20Globalization
The Political Economy of Land Degradation: Pressure Groups, Foreign Aid and the Myth of Man-Made Deserts, Institute of Economic Affairs, 1995-05-01International…