Dear Friends and Colleagues

Taking the Road Less Travelled Towards Sustainable Food Production

A recent paper published in the journal Canadian Food Studies entitled "Two roads diverged in the food crisis: Global policy takes the one more travelled" examines two roads for food and agriculture policy since the food crisis in 2007-2008.

It describes the road "more travelled" as one where a small number of increasingly powerful corporations dominate global markets and public policy. Despite having brought rapid growth in production of a few staple commodities, hunger and malnutrition persist, as do environmentally unsustainable production practices. The paper warns that policy-makers have largely failed to confront the new realities of the dangerous interdependence of food, fuel, and financial markets in the face of climate change. Changes made thus far have "proven inadequate to produce the kinds of structural reforms in global and national policies that are required to take us on a different path toward a different result".

Meanwhile, the road "less travelled" is described as the "time-tested path to economic development in agricultural countries". It involves ensuring that farmers have access to decent land, public research and extension, credit, marketing support, measures to stabilize prices at remunerative levels, and import protection where necessary.

The paper stresses that policy-makers need to make a commitment to follow the path less travelled as strongly recommended by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in 2009. It calls on policy-makers to be guided by key research questions along this new path, such as what public investment is needed to scale up proven alternative low-input practices and what we can learn from “best practices” in agroecological projects in developing countries.

The full paper can be accessed at

With best wishes,

Third World Network
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