I recently visited a region of the world that is recognized by the World Bank as the "poorest region in the world" with "98 percent of the inhabitants ... considered multi-dimensionally poor" in both resources, education, employment and other opportunities, and harshness of environment.
What I observed on my multiple visits to this region were attempts at introduction of industrial-ag influences...Large scale GMO based monocropping with dependency on synthetic fertilizers... Alongside a region that is substantially subsistence farmers.
And that makes sense when you think about where the funding for these initiatives come from. When the governments/World Health Organization/et al fund programs to help poverty-stricken countries, these are the farming models that are going to receive funding/attention. It is probably based on the methods your ag extention would've been a proponent of 10 years ago, based on how slowly these things move and the red tape and corruption and corporate lobbying it has to endure.
Those who have the education, resources, equipment, capital...to pull this type of agriculture off...are very much the minority.
That model doesn't scale as well as Permaculture in what it has to offer the vast worldwide population of subsistence farmers.
Simply supporting the subsistence farmers doesn't have the same value to government officials and policymakers in trying to improve their GDP/exports and make a name for themselves on the world stage, so it may not receive the attention it should.
The Permaculture model promotes minimal input, regenerative practices, capitalizing on inherent natural advantages and improving them, incorporating indigenous practices, and improved productivity and effectiveness.
How is the Permaculture based agriculture model being promoted to policy makers and agriculture departments within nations around the world? I have to think there would/should be tremendous interest, with the right support and education and resources. Methods to support 100% of the farming population that don't depend on significant import needs of equipment, material, supplies, fertilizers, herbicides.
We all know how industrial-ag methods are being promoted to these same groups. Corporate $$$$$
One organization I've come across related to this, although more entrenched and on a local level, is Mavuno. They're more hands-on boots on the ground supporting change/development/education/opportunities (in Congo/DRC)
I'm curious if there are organizations that are working at a higher strategic level, across all or groups nations, targeting policymakers and officials and nation-level ag departments, and providing the support of education/training/materials or just showing the legitimacy of regenerative agriculture practices? Can anyone reference any?
I have trouble seeing any direct solutions using power, smarts, money. Maybe because I have trouble seeing large scale projects (in the sense of a Plan put into action by an entity with the power to command the large needed resources) happening outside of existing power structures. And the existing power structures, well they seem 95% unable to stop making their profit by exploiting the helpless under whatever guise is currently popular. And lying or blinding themselves to what they do. This view is not helpful, but it appears unassailable (to me) and I don't think it's good to close ones eyes to "facts". Although "facts" depend greatly on the person looking, so hopefully others can see something more useful which perhaps they can run with.
I think it's up to individuals doing their own little best. Big organizations have big impacts, but I don't think they offer improvement or solutions, except incidentally. The same with powerful people executing their plans. If you want to do something you believe in, consciously w/out blindly messing everything up, go do it personally. Make it happen yourself. Make your little difference, paying attention to the things in _your_ little world which you can see and feel and know and affect. It's important that a person actually see and understand themselves and their world if their choices and actions are to be true to themselves and their world. It becomes very hard to do that when we play with power that lets us "deal" with others from a distance without feeling them personally. I don't think power is wrong any more than a gun is wrong. It's just not easy or natural to use "power" with eyes open, with full understanding and true feeling. And that makes mis-use almost inevitable. "Power" is like a strong drug: It is crude, it bludgeons the body, it has many side affects. Used wholesale, it can really mess things up.
The distance and loss of contact between individual people and their world and other people allows and leads to the horrors we see today. Thus, I don't think trying to solve things through the existing power structure, which depends on and perpetuates that alienation, has much hope of success. At least on our meaning of success.
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
posted 1 year ago
Would the people in the region you visited have considered themselves poor before the 1st world walked (in) on them and defined them as such? Or made them such? Or would they have just considered themselves normal joes trying get by and having some good luck and some bad luck? Maybe a lot died and there was lots of pain. Still. Did the 1st World make things better for them, considering?
Or how about right now. Everybody poverty stricken... Does that mean they're starving now the 1st World has come? Or are they just living a hard life that they have lived for hundreds of years that no banker could see w/out blanching and shaking in his shiny shoes and pointing his finger?
When I first started to read this I thought, "Oh, they must have gone to Moldova." I see that is not the case, but they have similar issues.
I guess my question is, what does the region have for lending?
I am not about debt at all, and strive in my personal life to mitigate it, but we have found in Moldova that the lending practices really helped hinder economic...and in particular...agricultural growth. In Moldova, a loan is due in full-repayment on December 31st. It does not matter if the loan was made on December 30th...it is due the last day of the year. In essence, this very short pay-back time frame stops farmers from getting the equipment and infrastructure they need.
As a church, we provide a limited amount of loans that have pay-back periods in years, instead of days to help combat this. There is a lot of oversight to these loans, but for the right farmer, extending credit can really help in the long run.
Were you in one of the Congos? If so, what was the situation concerning violence? Did you feel threatened? Can people travel safety? If someone creates something, will others destroy it?
When all order breaks down, I think it's best to be pragmatic and just offer improved plant varieties and let them sort it out. There are probably dozens of places that would benefit from regime change, and that's not something that usually works out when provided by outsiders.
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown