Peasants, Food and Agrarian Change
with Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi
More than 3.4 billion people live in the countryside of developing countries. The vast majority of these women and men rely, to a lesser or great extent, on small-scale farming as the basis of their livelihood. By some counts 70 per cent of the world's food is grown by small-scale peasant farmers – but at the same time some 70 per cent of the world's poor live in the world's rural areas. So the world's food is grown by the world's poorest people. If global citizens want to address human inequality we have to start by understanding how the world's largely ignored peasant farmers have become the epicenter of global poverty. After all, if we want the world to become a better place a good place to start would be among the lives of the world's forgotten peoples that provide the bulk of humanity with their food.

A VOICED RADIO EXCLUSIVE SERIES

All Episodes

The different use of time by women and men in households is the result of implicit and explicit negotiations between them that is called ‘bargaining’.

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Examples of how peasant households become producers of surplus are discussed.

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Peasant surplus production of some alongside deficit accumulation of many results in the emergence of distinct groups of peasants with different objectives and behaviours.

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The distinctions between groups of peasants can be understood by focusing upon three areas of empirical investigation and analysis.

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Is it possible to generalize about the distinctions between groups of peasants in the modern world?

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Across three contemporary rural ‘worlds’ five livelihood strategies can be witnessed among contemporary peasants. Only one offers them a future in farming.

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For almost 20 years the sustainable rural livelihoods approach was the basis by which action to improve the circumstances of peasants were undertaken.

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The strengths and weaknesses of the sustainable rural livelihoods approach, and why it fell into disuse, are discussed.

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Many peasant households are integrated into global agriculture through forms of contract farming.

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The terms and conditions by which small-scale peasant farmers are able to use land are discussed.

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Author

Stephen Hurley
Chief Catalyst, voicEd Radio Canada

Stephen Hurley has spent nearly 40 years as an educator. He has experience as a classroom teacher, a curriculum consultant, a teacher educator and a policy observer.

He has a strong relationship with the EdCan Network (formerly the Canadian Education Association), an organization that inspired the launch and evolution of voicEd Radio Canada.

Hurley believes that stronger connections between education research, practice and policy are essential to the type of change that will be necessary in Canada's public education systems moving forward.