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To Fight Global Warming and Prevent Hunger, We Need to Change How We Grow Our Food

Unless we control global climate change, caused in part by industrial farming, agricultural output across the world is likely to plummet.

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Those that defend rural communities who have historically maintained the world's ecosystems--and the climate. We need policies that:

  • Guarantee women small-scale farmers access to land, seeds, water, credit and other inputs and ensure that national legal frameworks uphold women's property rights.
  • End the privatization and monopolization of seeds by a handful of corporations.
  • Recognize food as first and foremost a human right and only secondarily a tradable commodity.
  • Support a process to establish an international Convention to implement the concept of food sovereignty, whereby communities control their own food systems.
  • Respect the right of small farmers to save and exchange seeds between communities and internationally, without penalties from agribusiness corporations.
  • Convert national agricultural subsidies from support for agribusiness to incentives for sustainable farming.

What's the Bottom Line?

Sustainable farming is our best bet for feeding a growing world population and restoring the health of the planet and the stability of the climate. That's the conclusion of a 2008 United Nations report on Africa that found that organic methods produced more food and improve soil, water, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

Worldwide, the vast majority of small-scale, sustainable farmers are women. Securing the full range of their human rights -- as women, as workers, and as rural and Indigenous Peoples -- is key to empowering them to enact solutions on which so much depends.

Yifat Susskind is MADRE's Policy and Communications Director.