We tend to believe that we need big farms, big dams, big corporations to meet our needs for food and water. Giant corporations have grown bigger with five companies globally controlling the seed supply, food supply and water supply. Among these corporations are Monsanto, Cargill, Nestle, Suez and Wal-Mart. We assume that farms must grow bigger and bigger for food security.
But the reality is that “small is big” — ecologically, economically and politically. The future of food security in India and worldwide lies in protecting and promoting small farmers.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, in spite of all subsidies going to large farms, in spite of all policies promoting industrial agriculture, even today 72 per cent food comes from small farms.
If we add kitchen gardens and urban gardens, the majority of food people eat is grown on a small scale. What is growing on large farms is not food; it is commodities. Only 10 per cent of the corn and soya taking over world agriculture is eaten. Ninety per cent goes to drive cars as biofuel or to animals in factory farms as feed. Small farms feed the world.
– Vandana Shiva, Small is really beautiful, in Asian Age.