For the dignity of farmers
A new book by Deogratias Niyonkuru from Burundi, offers a large number of ideas and food for thought about the condition of African smallholder farmers. How can we support family farms in Africa? What type of support is needed? How can we reconcile the need for increased productivity and poverty reduction in rural areas with the protection of the ecosystem? One of the author’s key messages is this: it is vital to support, first and foremost, small farmers, especially women farmers, in order to help them regain self-confidence in their activities and thus regain their dignity. Olivier de Schutter, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, wrote the preface for the book and praises the author's first-hand knowledge and modesty. “The contrast is striking between the accumulation of first-hand information and the refusal to offer recipes, or even to draw general lessons,” he writes. The author does suggest one important lesson: the issue of decision-making urgently needs to be addressed. Farmers are not sufficiently involved in the decision-making processes that concern their future. The book will be presented at a meeting organised by the Belgian Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP) on 12 January in Brussels.