We are told there is a choice between forest and food. But in reality it is industrial processes that are destroying sustainable farming and the ecosystem. KIRTANA CHANDRASEKARAN discusses a new report from Friends of the Earth International which suggests agroecology is an alternative that can respect people and planet
How to make farming 'climate friendly' was one of the hot topics at COP22 in Marrakesh, writes Natalie Bennett, with two contrasting models on show: 'climate smart' agriculture, with its reliance on industrial farming systems; and agroecology, which works with nature to build fertile, high-carbon, moisture-retaining soils, and sustain employment for millions of skilled land workers.
A study of GMO cotton varieties shows they disrupt an important beneficial soil fungus, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji, apparently due to the Bt insecticide they are engineered to express. Disruption caused by the transgenic cotton to mycorrhizal fungi, and the wider soil ecosystem, may underlie the low yields and poor pest resistance now endemic among Bt GM crops.
Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania. He has been praised across the world for his visionary work, and left behind a global network of 'peaceful warriors' in over 100 countries working tirelessly to fulfill his ambition to build harmony between humanity and Mother Earth.
Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive.
The European Parliament today called on the Commission and member states like the UK to stop funding the 'New Alliance' plan to force export-oriented agribusiness onto Africa. Instead they want support for small-scale family farms and agroecology.
The corporate war on traditional farming is nowhere fiercer than in India, writes Colin Todhunter. After decades of the 'Green Revolution' that have impoverished the nation's soils, water, biodiversity and cultivators alike, agribusiness is poised for its final strike. But now the small scale farmers who produce most of the country's food are rediscovering ancient agroecological alternatives.
GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature.
Among Cuba's greatest achievements is its organic farming sector, writes Miguel Altieri. Developed in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, small agroecological farms now employ 300,000 campesinos and provide an abundance of healthy fruit and vegetables. But now US food and agribusiness corporations are eyeing up a multi-billion dollar business opportunity.
Conventional agriculture has made an enemy of evolution as pests and diseases develop resistance to biocides and over-bred hybrids succumb to them, writes Salvatore Ceccarelli. But there is another way - for farmers to participate in breeding seed lines that are continuously adapting to their environment, with ever improving yields, flavour, pest-resistance, and other sought-after qualities.
Paris has been awash with hype about 'CO2 recycling' and 'carbon neutral' or even 'carbon negative' technologies based on burning millions of trees, writes Rachel Smolker. But the alchemical notion that waste carbon can be spun into corporate gold is hitting serious reality checks. It's time to ditch the fantasies and progress the real solutions: like caring for land, soils, forests and grasslands.
The greatest challenge facing agricultural scientists is how to work with farmers producing more ecological and healthier food - not GM, argues Patrick Mulvany, chair of the UK Food Group and advisor to Practical Action
Low-input farming projects, not reliant on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, have brought significant increases in food production in Africa, south-east Asia and South America, according to a UN report
Green Revolution architect Norman Borlaug is credited with 'feeding India'. But the feat took more than hybrid varieties and fertiliser, and it will take a much more sophisticated approach to help Africa feed itself