Jun 15, 2017
Expert Voices

Support small farmers

Our Expert Voices conversation on food security.

Food security in the context of a growing population and in the face of climate change is a tremendous challenge. But the main bottleneck is not the lack of science or technology — it's small scale farmers' access to land and markets. These farmers produce the bulk of the world's food, but are squeezed into less than a quarter of the planet's farmland.

What farmers need: Reforms that give them access to land, promote local markets rather than subsidizing export commodities, and support indigenous agroecological farming methods that help to fight the climate crisis. Farms capture huge amounts of carbon back into the world's farmlands and result in resilient farming systems more tolerant to extreme weather patterns.

Bottom line: Top-down laboratory-developed technological 'solutions' under control of agribusiness, such as genetically engineered seeds, more agrochemicals and extreme mechanization, only lead us deeper into the food and climate crises.

Other voices in the conversation:

Pamela Ronald, plant geneticist, UC Davis, Focus on results new technologies bring

Eric Schulze, molecular biologist, Memphis Meats, Science can't be at the expense of culture

Deborah Delmer, plant biologist, Genetic modification is an important part

Go deeper