Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Engaruka on the Guardian: GMOs VS small scale farming?

While I was coming to work this morning I came across this article from the Guardian. At first, I thought "this really looks like kids in the school in Engaruka" and in fact the article was also about Engaruka. When I do my fieldwork in Engaruka I live by the school and reading the article brings back many memories of kids queuing for their githeri (mix of beans and maize) in what the journalist correctly describes as a "dust bowl", especially last August.

While farmers in Engaruka during interviews never mentioned that they are "are squarely in the middle of a global ideological war over agricultural technology", it is true that almost every year they get food rescue from the government. The food they produce is never enough to sustain themselves during a whole year. They harvest maize twice a year and beans just once a year in September, but crops can be easily impacted by droughts and wind erosion.

Finally, the article is a wake up call. While small holder farming shouldn´t be romanticized, it is true that there is a real risk that  GMOs end up in the hands of farming corporations with serious social impacts, as in India.

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