1304 - 1303 Agro-ecology: for life

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For years, Pierre Rabhi has been recognised as a pioneer in agro-ecology. Currently, he is farming agro-ecologically in France and he shared his knowledge of farming practices at a conference last February.



These days, the dictatorship of money dominates the world and this is irreconcilable with the balance between man and nature. Seen through the eyes of money, the earth is like a field brimming over with riches that must at all costs be bled dry in the name of profit.  This view is in contradiction to the idea of making good use of natural resources that is at the heart of agro-ecology whereas industrial agriculture exhausts the land for us and for future generations. The worst thing is that this production model devastates the water, the soil and the climate.  We are talking about a model, laid down by agribusiness, which makes intensive use of chemical fertilisers, destroys ecosystems and annihilates small farmers. If we do not manage to balance our farming methods with nature, this industrial model is going to bring about hunger, especially by eroding natural resources. What is more, current agricultural policies support this model yet do not meet the needs of a changing world. In fact, faced as we are with the food crises and scandals, it is high time to apply techniques and practices that respect the soil, water and life and to adopt a philosophy that will reduce the temperature of the planet and satisfy the basic food needs of each and every person.



The industrial farming model is destroying, in particular, the soil’s ability to regenerate itself as the intensive use of pesticides is killing not only insects, but also the micro-organisms that are found in the soil.  The latter are vital for the decomposition of organic material, the growth of plants and healthy ecosystems. Moreover, as these toxic fertilisers are entering our food chain it would be better to wish someone ‘Good luck’ than ‘Enjoy your meal’.  What is more, access to traditional seeds that have been handed down from one generation to the next is steadily being replaced by the purchase of GMO seeds from large-scale seed suppliers who control the market. This limits the choice available to family farmers and reduces their access to seeds.



In addition, agribusiness is aggressively grabbing land all over the world in partnership with the chemical industry that provides the pesticides, fertilisers and farm machinery.  The impact of land grabbing is catastrophic for the planet, and in particular for Africa and its peoples. According to Rabhi, this is daylight robbery as it is totally unacceptable to snatch what belongs to everyone.  In fact, we are in danger of the land falling into the hands of a few owners while most of the people become – or have already become – tenants.  This will reduce even further the power of family farmers in comparison with that of transnational companies.



What’s to be done?


Faced with this domination by agribusiness, mankind cannot taste freedom either today or tomorrow.  Agro-ecology allows us to look at reality with different eyes without being blinkered by the money factor. It is vital that can hand on to future generations a living heritage so that they can be guaranteed fertile land that can feed everyone.  Confronted with a model based on profit and over-consumption, we need to cry ‘justice’ in a constructive way.  To transform the present society, we need to change our own habits, inspired by the trend to live simply.  In this way, we can liberate ourselves from the domination of agribusiness that is promoted by farming policies and multinationals. Let us choose food that is genuinely renewable and produced with respect for nature.  Let us feed the land so that it can feed us.


Gino Brunswijck

Policy Officer

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