ILEIA Newsletter - LEISA Magazine - Farming Matters Farming for the Future: An Introduction to Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture
This is a book about farming. But, more than that, it is a book about farmers, about men and women farmers. It is seldom that farmers particularly those in the Third World - have an opportunity to make themselves heard. In this book, an effort has been made to give as much room as possible to the knowledge and experience of small-scale farmers in developing countries. In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in studies about small-scale farming and its potential for development, but I have the strong feeling that most of these studies are only meant to be food for discussion among experts. This is also a book about sustainability. Achieving and maintaining sustainable agriculture has become one of the focal points, not only within Dutch agricultural and environmental policies, but also within those of the international development community. Until now, agricultural policies - whether oriented toward export production or local food production - have focused too narrowly on maximising short-term profits rather than on long-term sustainable management of local resources by farmers. Although this is understandable from the point of view of policy makers confronted with questions of food security, employment, foreign exchange and population growth, it does not take into account sufficiently the interests of individual farmers and rural communities and does not lead to their empowerment.