22 Sep '14, 12pm

Why “get big” isn’t the answer for poor farmers around the globe

Why “get big” isn’t the answer for poor farmers around the globe

In the U.S., an economic ratchet steadily drives farm sizes up and the total number of farmers down. Just a few days ago, the Department of Agriculture released an update with the completely unsurprising conclusion that “today’s farms are fewer and bigger.” Does that mean that, to modernize, farms in poorer countries will have to emulate North American agriculture and get fewer and bigger, too? Nope. The economics are actually pushing in the opposite direction — in low and middle-income countries, farms are getting smaller, not larger . Given a level playing field, small farmers are, in many cases, simply more competitive than big agribusiness. Bigger is better only in the right context. The idea that bigger is always better stems, perhaps, from our experience here in the United States, or perhaps it rises from what the anthropologist James C. Scott called “high-modernist ...

Full article: http://grist.org/food/why-get-big-isnt-the-answer-for-poo...

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