Humans will always have an attachment to land: our nourishment and subsistence depend on it. But now, the vast agricultural economy is seeing a unique era of preservation akin to all the industries being disrupted by technology the world over.
From market innovations to new innovative approaches in cultivation itself, sustainable farming methods are being adopted the world over as urbanisation inadvertently forces citizens to question where their food comes from.
Many European governments are able to provide subsidies and incentivise the innovation process for small to medium sized farms, the multiplicity of differing economic conditions and government initiatives worldwide mean the innovation of agriculture in our developing economies depends almost entirely on private investment. Private investment is isolated in nature to corporate farming, so small local farmers become disadvantaged by their dependence on a small monopolized economy.
On the bright side, various forms of programs and schemes from the private to public sector are providing a path for innovation and investments regardless of how industrialised the economy is on the land you choose to farm.
Brazil’s government has recently focused on the development and innovation of large to medium scale farms, as well as small farming in rural areas. Most of its support to the farming industry comes from an implementation of policies that facilitate a credit and loans for farmers looking to improve their farming practices.
The plurality of funds directly affected by these governmental policies whose lending systems are based on financing projects that promote development, innovation, and environmental sustainability is noteworthy. Modernisation of local family farms is also supported through these programs, which is a huge improvement from most other Latin American countries.
Credit support for farmers large and small alike is but a single step in the right direction for innovation but has some room for improvement. Its focus is mostly centered on productivity and the current market conditions. In order to improve, innovative practices should be proliferated as well as a simplification of loan procedures for farmers looking to improve their cultivation conditions.
Another developing Latin American economy, Colombia, has an agricultural sector whose growth is due to increasing population and high demand. This, of course, has its share of challenges as developing agricultural economies generally do.
The organization is a product of a partnership between local government, the Economic Development Secretariat, and small local farmers known as Familia de la Tierra, which together created a network of local farms in order to respond to these complexities in the market.
The goal in those communities is to create “spaces for production and community work on producing and saving native and traditional farmers’ seeds; composting; agroecological food production; processing and adding value; and marketing.”
Organisations such as these reach the traditional farmer in developing countries in a different way, teaching innovation through education.
The agricultural economy in Colombia currently depends entirely on the exploitation of local small-farmers, and Familia de la Tierra is an attempt to combat that by localizing the whole farming process, from cultivation to packaging, as well as giving an educational space for open discussion to the farmers. Most of these transitional economies rely heavily on the agricultural product, but at the expense of the small local farmer.
The examples above serve to teach us that definitively increasing the participation between governments, private organizations, financial organizations, for small farmers highly affects innovation in the agricultural economies of developing Latin American economies. Programs like these would promote sustainable agricultural practices, and can improve economic conditions in the long term for both the farmer, his customers and the economy of the region.
Should Africa adopt the Western farm subsidy and nationalistic trade methods that have solidified their food production or can innovation such as is seen in Latin America usher in an age of food security unprecedented on our continent? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you for visiting Base64!