There are tons of evidence that export-oriented agriculture does not work for the poor and that it cause more misery and exploitation. Daniel sent me this article about India:
"After the dry spell in the mid 1960s-early 1970s, making India self-sufficient in food became a rallying call. But instead of basing the methods for accomplishing this on land reform (along with really well informed, ecologically sound extension), the politically driven emphasis on mono-cropping, export for profit, and complex market chains led to an adoption of the U.S. model of agriculture based on a limited number of commodities. This approach relied on an extensive use of artificial petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides, with a strong emphasis on the large and very large farmers (size defined in locally relevant terms). With the so-called "liberalization" of the economy in the last 10 years, there has been a large emphasis on export crops, based on the views of economists who believed that it would be good for trade if India were to import many of its basic grains, taking advantage of what economists call "economies of scale", a concept borrowed from industry which ignores the realities of rural/agricultural life."
Here is another one about Egyptian cotton, which I had blogged before, but I find is worth blogging twice. Please read it.
"According to Hamdi Wabid, a campaigner for the Land Centre for Human Rights, an NGO that fights for cotton farmers, the Egyptian cotton we sleep on in the west comes at the end of a chain of hardship and suffering. 'Counting seeds and fertiliser, the cost of starting each year's crop has jumped from zero to hundreds of pounds,' Wabid says. 'At the same time,
cotton prices have plunged, mainly because of oversupply but also because the US, the world's largest cotton producer, provides generous government subsidies to its farmers, allowing them to sell at a far lower cost. This has led many in Egypt to blame the Americans for creating the crisis,' says Wabid.
'Those who are suffering more are the children. You can be assured that any Egyptian cotton you buy in Britain has been picked or processed or tilled by children, some as young as five and six. They have no opportunities to thrive or grow, or even, as children, to have dreams and ambitions.'"
And another one, in French about banana growing in Cameroun:
"Le salaire n'est pas bon, confirme Elysée Mbelle, un autre jeune planteur. Ce n'est pas normal que ce soit la famine ici alors que nous faisons manger les Français." Depuis les émeutes, les salaires ont d'ailleurs reçu un net coup de pouce, le salaire minimum passant à 31 000 francs CFA (46,50 euros) sans les primes, qui le portent à 45 000 francs CFA (67,50 euros), selon la direction de SPM."
"Beaucoup d'employés se font virer parce qu'ils volent des bananes. La direction ne t'en donne pas. Seuls les rebuts sont vendus sur les marchés. Ces gens-là ont voulu se venger." Les conditions de travail (douze heures payées huit selon certains), la rémunération à la tâche, sans considération du temps passé, et la discipline de fer alimentent les frustrations. "Si tu demandes une pause à cause de la chaleur, le chef te dit : "Ou tu y retournes, ou je t'inscris en refus de travail"", rapporte un intérimaire.
Let me know if you need more. Farming is a way of life. Food and land and water are basic human rights. They are not optional. Let it be known: this is what we struggle for.