Thursday, January 30, 2014
Strong developing world voices
Here is an article from India regarding the country's attempts to maintain certain government support for farmers there, in the face of US and WTO objections. Here is one from Nigeria recognizing the importance of family farmers in ensuring the country's food supply. This second article especially is a refreshing change from the tone of many (presumably urban-based) journalists in developing countries, who in their ignorance of how farming works see only the apparent "backwardness" of their peasant countrymen. Too often, developing world journalists and other important influencers of policy seem to be embarrassed by the peasantry, embarrassed that the rest of the world defines their countries by their agrarian base and not by the go-go, bourgeois urban lifestyle that is seen as more desireable and respectable in a modern consumerist value system. I think that this embarrassment of their "hillbilly relatives" contributes to many misled policies in the developing world that favor urban elites instead of the rural mass of the population. At any rate, both articles I've linked to here seem to call for a real, society-wide acceptance and recognition of the peasantry, and surely the FAO declaration of 2014 as the year of family farming is pushing us all to see the peasantry with respect and validation. I'm all for that.