Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution?
Agroecology is gaining support for its ability not only to increase production but to improve livelihoods and climate resilience.
Cuba has introduced a large-scale conversion to agroecology, and farmers have learned to drought-proof their farms as a result. Photograph: Desmond Boylan/REUTERS
By Caspar van Vark
The Guardian Professional, Tuesday 27 November 2012
The food price rises of 2007-8 triggered some alarming forecasts about the future of food. By 2050, said the FAO, there would be another 2 billion mouths to feed. Production would need to increase by 70%.
These dire warnings were met with widespread commitments from governments to invest in agriculture: a new Green Revolution.
But is increasing production the only challenge? Many observers say no, because there's actually already enough food in the world, it's just that the poorest – mostly struggling small-scale producers themselves – can't afford to buy it.
As one position paper [by Eric Holt-Gimenez] at Rio+20 this year put it, the call to double food production by 2050 is only necessary if we continue to prioritise livestock and automobiles over hungry people. Instead, improving the livelihoods of small-scale producers should be the priority.