The World Exists in a Mustard Seed: Grassroots Resistance in the Quest for Food Sovereignty
MA in Sustainable Development
In the past few decades, all over the world, farmers’ livelihoods have become increasingly imperiled by First World institutions and corporations, which have infiltrated the agricultural sector. These entities endorse an industrialized model of agriculture in the Third World in order to accelerate production, which is seen as a panacea to lift farmers out of poverty and eliminate hunger. This strategy, christened the Green Revolution, has instead created greater poverty as the agricultural sector grows increasingly privatized and consolidated under the control of a handful of multi-national corporations. This one-size-fits-all strategy has been and continues to be aggressively pushed by institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as conditions for integration into the hyper-markets of globalization. The outcome of the Green Revolution has been the devastation of traditional systems of farming and the creation of unsustainable economies that are reliant on foreign imports, such as hybridized seeds, massive chemical inputs, and machinery to increase production. As a result, farmers have been caught up in a cycle of dependence that undermines their very survival.
My research explores the interaction of two Non-Governmental Organizations’ (NGOs) with small farmers in India, who are faced with the situation mentioned above. In my paper, I examine some of the strategies that the NGOs are using to identify and address the most pressing issues in the lives of the farmers. My underlying question is: what is the best way to assist a group of people, in such a way as to facilitate positive sustainable changes that will continue to grow within the communities once the initial seeds have been planted. My research is based on the hypothesis that it is usually the communities that are most immediately affected that have the most insight into the problems they are facing. The real work is in figuring out how best to develop the resources necessary to resolve them.
Agricultural and Resource Economics | Growth and Development
Fesler-Schnitzer, Rachel, "The World Exists in a Mustard Seed: Grassroots Resistance in the Quest for Food Sovereignty" (2007). Capstone Collection. 2146.