Université Catholique de Louvain / Development studies
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As a researcher working in Central Africa for almost two decades now, I have seen how climate change is not a future challenge. It is affecting the living conditions of rural farmers RIGHT NOW. The timings of seasons are shifting in unforeseen ways. Drought, erosion, too abundant rains at unforeseen moments… These climatic aberrations affect food availability. They decrease the chances of people to live a decent and healthy life.
Moreover, food producers and consumers are confronted with agro-enterprises for whom food production is ‘big business’. Smallholder farmers, considered as ‘unproductive’, are pushed outside the farming sector and are replaced by large-scale production units. However, their operation mode is often ecologically unsustainable.
We should think, profoundly, about which life we want for our children, and for children all over the world. Indeed, climate change is not about tomorrow’s challenges. It is about today’s choices. Starting with what we eat… And with the type of farming model that our policy makers promote, both in Europe, but also – through development aid – in Africa. the Green Revolution model is generating profits for a limited group, but is failing to provide sustainable livelihoods for the large majority of African farmers. It is time to look at scientific evidence that looks beyond the ‘economic growth’ index, and assesses food production models that include all the relevant dimensions relevant to human development.