North America

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Date of publication
May 2016
Geographical focus

Source: Mapaq

En février 2015, le ministre Pierre Paradis confiait à Jean Pronovost, sous-ministre à la retraite et membre de plusieurs conseils d’administration d’institutions importantes des secteurs économique et culturel, la tâche de mener cette étude et de formuler des recommandations.

La présente étude cerne les obstacles et identifie les pistes de solutions les plus prometteuses pour assurer le Québec d’une relève agricole de qualité, suffisante en nombre, compétente et motivée.

 

Date of publication
January 2014
Geographical focus

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) business-asusual projections of agricultural supply and demand anticipate a rise in food prices of most cereals and meats, reversing long-established downward trends. Between 2005 and 2050, food prices for maize, rice, and wheat are projected to increase by 104, 79, and 88 percent, respectively, while those for beef, pork, and poultry will rise by 32, 70, and 77 percent, respectively. Moreover, the number of people at risk of hunger in the developing world will grow from 881 million in 2005 to more than a billion people by 2050 (IFPRI International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade [IMPACT] baseline, Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate [MIROC] A1B scenario1 used in this book). More recent modeling efforts that use nine agricultural models, including both general equilibrium and partial equilibrium models, project that food price increases out to 2050 will be more moderate under climate change, with the IMPACT results in the medium range of price increases. Our results indicate increases in the real price of maize of 40–45 percent in 2050 and in the price of wheat and rice of 20–25 percent under climate change relative to a no–climate change scenario, using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment with Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 and Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) 2 scenario2 (Nelson et al. 2013).

Date of publication
January 2009
Geographical focus

Uncertainty and risk are characteristics inherent in agricultural activities, and one of the main sources of risk is weather. Because agriculture depends heavily on rainfall, it is sensitive to weather changes. Agriculture is also vulnerable to extreme weather events; floods, droughts, and frosts cause both production and capital losses. Approximately 98 percent of the catastrophic risk to agriculture in Mexico stems from two types of weather events: droughts (accounting for 80 percent) and cyclones (accounting for 18 percent). Low-income rural populations are highly vulnerable to the harmful effects of weather, yet their access to insurance programs is almost nonexistent.

Date of publication
January 2004

"Agricultural research has greatly increased the yields of important staple food crops, and for many people this has meant more food availability and trade opportunities. Yet many people in rural areas in developing countries still live in abject poverty. Therefore, policymakers, donors, and researchers are refocusing their priorities away from simply producing more food to making sure that agricultural research benefits the poor in particular. How can we ensure that new agricultural technologies are appropriate for the different groups of people who most need assistance? Furthermore, how can we assess whether these new technologies actually reduce poverty? This report provides valuable answers by synthesizing lessons learned from seven case studies from around the developing world. The studies show that measures of the direct impacts of new technologies on incomes and yields do not tell the whole story. Both economic and noneconomic factors (such as sources of vulnerability, gender roles, and the source of the disseminated technology) play an extremely important role in determining whether the poor adopt or benefit from a technology.... In addition, social, cultural, and economic factors all influence whether the poor receive direct and indirect benefits from new technologies. Therefore, it is crucial that impact assessments include a mix of disciplines and methods, and that researchers do not only focus on poverty-reducing impacts that are easy to measure. For the future, scientists and other decision makers designing new research programs need to understand all the social factors that will affect the uptake and impacts of technologies. They also need to understand poor people’s strategies for managing risk and the importance and role of agriculture in their livelihood strategies." Authors' Preface

Date of publication
January 2001
Geographical focus

In this paper we investigate whether a conditional cash transfer program such as the Programa Nacional de Educación, Salud y Alimentación (PROGRESA) can simultaneously combat the problems of low school attendance and child work. PROGRESA is a new program of the Mexican government aimed at alleviating extreme poverty in rural areas. It combats the different causes of poverty by providing cash benefits that are targeted directly to households on the condition of children attending school and visiting health clinics on a regular basis. Some of the questions addressed are as follows: Does the program reduce child labor? Does it increase participation in school activities? Does the latter occur at the expense of children's leisure time? And how do the effects of the program vary by age group and gender? Our empirical analysis relies on data from a quasi-experimental design used to evaluate the impact of the program involving a sample of communities that receive PROGRESA benefits (treatment) and comparable communities that receive benefits at a later time (control). We estimate the effect of “treatment on the treated” using both double-difference and cross sectional difference estimators. Our estimates show significant increases in the school attendance of boys and girls that are accompanied by significant reductions in the participation of boys and girls in work activities. We also find that the program has a lower impact on the incidence of work for girls relative to boys.

Date of publication
January 2014

The AgriTech Toolbox enables researchers and policymakers to examine how alternative agricultural practices and technologies can impact farm yields, food prices, natural resource use, hunger, malnutrition, land use and global trade in 2050, when climate change impacts may be severe. As a result, it can inform the right mix of policies and investments needed to tackle the challenges agriculture faces in the coming decades. The AgriTech toolbox models the impacts of 10 technologies on farm yields, food prices, natural resource use, hunger, malnutrition, land use and global trade. The Raw data can be downloaded by clicking on the 'download button' on the top right of the menu bar, both in the crop model and economic model pages.

Date of publication
January 2014
Geographical focus

Food First Backgrounder, Spring 2014, Vol. 20, No. 1

Introduction: Land, Race and the Agrarian Crisis

The disastrous effects of widespread land grabbing and land concentration sweeping the globe do not affect all farmers equally. The degree of vulnerability to these threats is highest for smallholders, women and people of color—the ones who grow, harvest, process and prepare most of the world’s food.

International market forces have invaded every aspect of economic and social life. The wholesale privatization of public goods has concentrated immense power in the hands of global monopolies and introduced new layers of inequality into our food systems. The destruction of smallholder agriculture in the Global South has sent millions of rural people on perilous migrations in search of work where they often enter low-paying jobs in the food system. They are pushed to underserved neighborhoods of color where labor abuse, diet-related disease and food insecurity are the norm.

Though surrounded by former peasant farmers (now turned farmworkers), many older farmers wonder who will farm the land when they are gone.

At the same time, despite record agricultural profits, farming communities in the US heartland are steadily emptying out, reeling from unemployment and the environmental consequences of 70 years of industrial agriculture. Though surrounded by former peasant farmers (now turned farmworkers), many older farmers wonder who will farm the land when they are gone. But young, beginning and immigrant farmers find it too costly to access land.

Big farms in the US are getting bigger. Small farms are getting smaller. The same structural adjustment polices and free trade agreements that devastate the livelihoods of farmers in the Global South are steadily reshaping the agrarian landscape of the United States.

Land Grabs and the New Agrarian Transition

The land grabs occurring in the Third World are the tip of the iceberg of a long process of capitalist reconfiguration of land and resources known as the agrarian transition. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, this meant mobilizing resources from the countryside to the city to subsidize industry with cheap food and cheap labor—largely accomplished by destroying the commons and dispossessing peasant farmers. The agrarian transition has gone through many permutations since then, but generally kept its anti-commons and anti-smallholder thrust.

Today, family farmers are fighting to hang on to their farms and aspiring farmers are struggling to access land. Because of the structural racism in our food system, immigrants and people of color are at a particular disadvantage.

Today’s agrarian transition is about the countryside’s role in the rise of agri-food monopolies, the intensification of extractive industries and the emerging dominance of international finance capital. A commodities boom within the industrial grain-livestock/agro-food complex coupled with a global crisis of capital accumulation (too many goods and too few buyers) have made land a hot investment offering global investors an opportunity to treat it “like gold with yield.” Land is concentrating in fewer and fewer hands, dispossessing millions as it pads corporate portfolios.

The World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and trade agreements like the North American and Central American Free Trade Agreements and the Trans Pacific Partnership and Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (under negotiation) facilitate the modern agrarian transition on a global scale. The USDA, the Farm Bill, the deregulation of finance capital and the gutting of government anti-trust laws are bringing the agrarian transition home to the US.

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by Eric Holt-Giménez 

Read the original article here

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