Briefing Papers


Country Focus

“Holding Up Half the Sky” - reflects on the role of women farmers in Burkina Faso (West Africa), one of the poorest countries in the world, and how they are adapting to their economic situation by forming co-operatives to explore diversification strategies.

“Agriculture in Northeast Thailand” - analyses the changing farming and social conditions in the region, looking particularly at milk and rice production and some simple, but efficient, improvements to production systems.

“Indian agriculture and the WTO” reflects the experience of farmers in India since the WTO came into being. At the time of independence in 1947, India had about 5 million farms. By the early 1980s, the number had risen to about 90million and now there are perhaps over 100 million. Today one quarter of the world’s farmers are Indian, and India also has one fifth of the world’s livestock, and yet 320 million of its people suffer from chronic hunger.

“Cattle, Costa Rica and the WTO” - Costa Rica is one of 7 countries that make up the region of Central America. It borders Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. The population of Costa Rica is roughly 3.6 million and Spanish is the official language. As a member of the WTO and the Cairns Group, Costa Rica has been at the heart of trade liberalisation policies. The impact that these have had on indigenous farming systems is significant.

Issue Focus

“Foot and Mouth, the Global Disease” - this briefing represents two perspectives on FMD. John Lampitt FWn Chairman and a farmer from Warwickshire questions what the future holds for farming in the UK after the disease, while Martin Steel, the Development Education Co-ordinator for VETAID reflects on how the disease is managed in developing countries.

“Reducing Carbon Footprint” - this speech looks at plantation teak, recycled teak and growth of the teak export industry. Impacts of felling young and illegal trees, use of TRAC elite system to trace sources of teak discussed by the owner of Faraway Garden Furniture

“Agricultural biodiversity, farmers sustaining the web of life.” Agricultural biodiversity embraces the living matter that produces food and other farm products, supports production and shapes agricultural landscapes. The variety of tastes, textures and colours in food is a product of agricultural biodiversity. This biodiversity is the result of the interaction by smallholder farmers, herders and artisanal fisherfolk with other species.

Food Security Focus

“Food Security for All: the challenge for the future.” Food security is a complex issue. Achieving food security for all is not merely a question of ensuring that global food production is sufficient to meet the needs of the world’s people. It also means that everyone should have access to sufficient quantities of food of adequate nutritional value.

“Food Security and the Environment”: looks at the delicate balance farmers the world over have to find between trying to produce sufficient food to feed the world now, and avoiding environmental degradation that might hamper food production in the future.

Commodity Focus

“Chocolate, The Divine Trade” - examines the story behind Kuapa Kokoo, a highly successful Fairtrade cocoa co-operative from Ghana, which now owns shares in a company making chocolate bars for UK consumers.

“Prawn Free?” - assessing industrial shrimp aquaculture that has an annual farm-gate value of over $6 billion, but which is causing severe environmental and social problems.