Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds - it's the production of food and fiber from the world's land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.
Women have an important role in agriculture. We need to introduce technology, which will help us harness the potential of women in agriculture. We need to divide the agriculture sector into three parts- regular farming, farming of trees and animal husbandry. If we are able to do this, the contribution of our women will increase even more.
The reductionist measure of yield is to agriculture systems, what GDP is to economic systems. It is time to move from measuring yield of commodities, to health and well-being of ecosystems and communities. Industrial agriculture has its roots in war. Ecological agriculture allows us to make peace with the earth, soil and the society.
The Nuffield report suggests that there is a moral imperative for investment into GM crop research in developing countries. But the moral imperative is in fact the opposite. The policy of drawing of funds away from low-cost sustainable agriculture research, towards hi-tech, exclusive, expensive and unsafe technology is itself ethically questionable. There is a strong moral argument that the funding of GM technology in agriculture is harming the long-term sustainability of agriculture in the developing world.
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher
The serious problem is the education of the peasantry. The peasant economy is scattered, and the socialization of agriculture, judging by the Soviet Union's experience, will require a long time and painstaking work. Without socialization of agriculture, there can be no complete, consolidated socialism.
I cite a good example, say, of agriculture, .. In agriculture we need to move with speed to bring to full utilization the land that is now in our possession. We need to curb aspects of corruption that are endemic in the economy. We need to be transparent in everything that we do. We need to be consistent in implementing the policies we would have agreed. And not implement policies one day and reverse them the other day.
Loss of genetic diversity in agriculture is leading us to a rendezvous with extinction--to the doorstep of hunger on a scale we refuse to imagine. To simplify the environment as we have done with agriculture is to destroy the complex interrelationships that hold the natural world together. Reducing the diversity of life, we narrow our options for the future and render our own survival more precarious.
Commercial agriculture can survive within pluralistic American society, as we know it - if the farm is rebuilt on some of the values with which it is popularly associated: conservation, independence, self-reliance, family, and community. To sustain itself, commercial agriculture will have to reorganize its social and economic structure as well as its technological base and production methods in a way that reinforces these values.
Like its agriculture, Africa's markets are highly under-capitalized and inefficient. We know from our work around the continent that transaction costs of reaching the market, and the risks of transacting in rural, agriculture markets, are extremely high. In fact, only one third of agricultural output produced in Africa even reaches the market.
Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin
Agriculture seems to be the first pursuit of civilized man. It enables him to escape from the life of the savage, and wandering shepherd, into that of social man, gathered into fixed communities and surrounding himself with the comforts and blessings of neighborhood, country, and home. It is agriculture alone, that fixes men in stationary dwellings, in villages, in towns, and cities, and enables the work of civilizations, in all its branches, to go on.
In antiquity, agriculture and industry depended completely on human labor; but now, with the development of natural forces that human labor cannot match, agriculture and industry have fallen completely into the hands of the capitalists. The greater the amount of capital, the more abundant the resources that can be utilized.
I think people look at revolution too much in terms of power. I think revolution has to be seen more anthropologically, in terms of transitions from one mode of life to another. We have to see today in light of the transition, say, from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from agriculture to industry, and from industry to post-industry. We're in an epoch transition.
Grace Lee Boggs
If we're eating industrially, if we're letting large corporations, fast food chains, cook our food, we're going to have a huge, industrialized, monoculture agriculture because big likes to buy from big. So I realized, wow, how we cook or whether we cook has a huge bearing on what kind of agriculture we're going to have.
Net result [of the Dept. of Agriculture's Payment in Kind - PIK - program]: total farm income, now expected to be around $25 billion, this fiscal year, will exceed total federal subsidies by only a couple of billion. You could argue that those fellows out there on the fruited plain are in effect working for the federal government and that, therefore, the U.S. now has socialized agriculture under the Reagan Administration. Rich, eh?
What we must think about is an agriculture with a human face. We must give standing to the new pioneers, the homecomers bent on the most important work for the next century - a massive salvage operation to save the vulnerable but necessary pieces of nature and culture and to keep the good and artful examples before us. It is time for a new breed of artists to enter front and center, for the point of art, after all, is to connect. This is the homecomer I have in mind: the scientist, the accountant who converses with nature, a true artist devoted to the building of agriculture and culture to match the scenery presented to those first European eyes.
Most of the people in the world are poor, so if we knew the economics of being poor, we would know much of the economics that really matters. Most of the world's poor people earn their living from agriculture, so if we knew the economics of agriculture, we would know much of the economics of being poor.