The Future of Farmers and Food

Hi Pam,

I enjoyed the chat that we had on the way ahead for I think it is a good starting point to take the discussions further about the evolution of the site.

Now to get on with my post for the Open Letter section, I have been looking at some interesting articles on the farm sector. The more I read about it, the sadder I feel about the farm community across the world--more so in developing countries.

As the global population surges by a few billions over the next few decades, farmers are going to face more pressure than ever to produce food in the face of challenges like climate change, shrinking agricultural labour (caused by movement of people from villages to cities), and shortage of land to till.

In a recent article, Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, says as the rural and farm population gets reduced, agriculture will increasingly become more capital- and knowledge- intensive to produce more and higher quality food for bigger and richer urban populations.

While much of the new investments, he says, will come from the private sector and farmers themselves, a substantial sums of public money must be spent on infrastructure, technology, education and extension systems.

An interesting article by emeritus Indian scientist M S Swaminathan says the media has a crucial role to play in revitalising agriculture by reporting on issues impacting farmers and their livelihoods. Professor Swaminathan, regarded by many as the pioneer of India's green revolution in the 1960s, adds that media has to take care not to lose focus of the small farmer. I am not too sure how much of the big media would like to pay heed to his words.

But I still see a silver lining skirting the dark clouds. Since a lot of the next revolution will be propelled by education and technology, organisations in the ICT  (information, communication and technology) space, in tandem with research institutions, have a wonderful opportunity to create new avenues to train the farming community on better use of seeds, water and irrigation.  

To me, the biggest theme of the next few decades will be to keep the farmer and his family happy in their homes, fields and villages.  



Open Letters: 


Hi Vijay,

Yes, you have summed up the situation beautifully for me. I agree that you are correct when you say that the challenge over the next decades will be "to keep the farmer and his family happy in their homes, fields and villages."

This discussion from a Minciu Sodas group may interest you

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Josephat Ndibalema <>
Date: 2009/12/3
Subject: Re: [mendenyo] Create and publish e-books in Kiswahili for small scale farmers in East Africa

Dear Alex,
Thanks for providing a link http://www.cd3wd. com/cd3wd, really this is going to be an helpful english resource for swahili translation.
Josephat Thobias Ndibalema

--- On Thu, 11/12/09, alex weir <> wrote:

From: alex weir <>
Subject: [mendenyo] Create and publish e-books in Kiswahili for small scale farmers in East Africa
Received: Thursday, November 12, 2009, 11:41 AM

  consider using http://www.cd3wd. com/cd3wd/ as the english language
resource for the swahili translations. ..

best regards

alex weir

Mr Alex Weir
Software Developer
tel +964 78 110 50 356 (mobile)
Baghdad Iraq
http://www.cd3wd. com/contactus/


Your blog entry on the future of farmers and food is interesting and raises many issues that concern a group called Global Villages. I think you might find it interesting to join in discussion with that group.

The leader of Global Villages is Franz Nahrada. He has a yahoo group called Global Villages.

You can subscribe to it at

I suggest that you subsrcibe to the group. I think Franz (and others) woul be very intersted in your views. Perhaps you could write to the group starting a new thread on the view from India - with a breif introduction to yourself and your intersts and a link to this blog entry.

If you do write an email to them I hope you will keep in the loop. I ask that if you do write to Global Villages you also post your letter to I am not sure the best place - perhaps add ti here as another comment, or put it in you open letters, or we could start a related discussion area. We will discover what is best. The main thing is to make sure that people who follow you here also know what you are saying at Gobal Villages.

You can read more about Global Villages here on the worknets wiki

I know you are very busy at present so realise you may not have time to follow this up. Thanks for the information and ideas you have shared with us on this topic.