MUNDA, Solomon Islands
With little more than a bush knife and an axe between them, a group of young boys between the ages of nine and 18 years have taken food security into their own hands. In Kindu, a community of 5,000 people in the coastal urban area of Munda in the Solomon Islands, these boys, who have been abandoned by their parents, have transformed their lives by establishing a cooperatively run farm.
Separating Maria Gomes Morais’ farm and a school in Rio de Janeiro are fields, hills and dirt roads that are impassable when it rains. But a school meal programme has forged a path linking the fresh produce harvested by small farmers like her with the need to provide nourishment to 45 million schoolchildren around Brazil.
Avelina Elias Mkenda, a 52-year-old small-scale farmer in the Mbarali district of Tanzania’s southwestern Mbeya region, can sense a change in her environment.
"We never used to eat carrots, but now we like them," said Rebeca Soba, admiring her vegetable garden, an island of diversity in the midst of a vast sugarcane plantation.
Vegetable gardening has been introduced at the Capanda Agroindustrial Pole (PAC) as a source of income for local small farmers.
It has been many years since Mexico, the birthplace of maize, has been self-sufficient in this staple food that plays a central role in its cuisine and culture. But new studies indicate that it could produce enough maize to meet its needs within 10 to 15 years.
A huge moment for reform of the industrial farming system in Europe has many stakeholders on edge. Farmers who are feeling the crunch of rising input costs – from fertilisers to fuel – believe they can benefit greatly from a transition to more traditional and sustainable farming methods.
Narrow, cobblestoned lanes separate the rows of mud houses with cool interiors and mud-smoothened patios, some with goats tethered to the wooden posts. This is Tajpura village, deep in this water-stressed, drought-prone region of northern India.
Small farmers in the Baan Pra village of Thailand's southern Trang province have been living in anxiety ever since they were slapped with stiff fines by the government in 2006 and ordered to vacate their ancestral lands for ‘contributing to global warming’.
Ulvia Abdullayeva, from Ganja in western Azerbaijan, has come to Rio to deliver a simple but critical message to world leaders and her national authorities: small farmers need protection and financing.
Many grow lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, beets and other vegetables. But cilantro is ever-present in the gardens that are helping rural families weather the lengthy drought that is once again wracking Brazil’s impoverished Northeast.
By coaxing a bumper 3.2 tonnes of rice out of each acre on his organic farm in this district famed for its ancient Buddhist monasteries, Charitha Wijeratne has convincingly proved that using indigenous seeds does not affect productivity.
When Arati Chaudhary’s husband left for India to find work as a migrant labourer, the job of managing farm and family fell on her slender shoulders.
In the summer heat, fresh mangos are the fruit of choice for politicians seeking to exchange favours with foreign dignitaries. But when it comes to global trade, the prospects of the so-called king of fruit are limited.
Misradi, a 58-year-old farmer from the Jelok neighborhood in Pacitan, East Java, some 524 kilometres east of Jakarta, has found a way to reduce his monthly expenses by 30 percent: instead of buying produce from the local market, he and his family now harvest most of their vegetables from their own yard.
The upcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development will not succeed if the crises of hunger and malnutrition are not effectively addressed. The issues are so inextricably linked with sustainable development that they have to be part of the agenda, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for the upcoming Earth Summit that will take place in Rio de Janeiro from Jun. 20-22.