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Toughts on Social and Solidarity Economy from the point of view of the Tradicional Agriculture and its Organisations

Concept paper written for the WSSE Dakar, Senegal meeting (Nov 19-21, 2005).

A deliberation on the future of peasant farmers in the South. Globalization means that we are currently seeing a formidable change in the economy and society, leading us to unknown shores. The machinery has been set in motion, it is illusory to believe that we can stop it or return to the past (and to what sort of past: development in a single country? State-controlled socialism?). Particularly in the poorest countries (those with the least diversified economy where 70 to 90% of the population lives off farming), this general globalization threatens the great mass of peasant farmers (a 1.3 billion working population, 40% of the world's population) which has remained on the sidelines of the technological revolution. As for the international debate on agriculture, it remains locked into WTO trade negotiations where the talk is of openness, to a background of confrontation between agricultures that are on a totally different scale in terms of levels of productivity and processing. The aid that rich countries grant to their agricultural sectors understandably appears as an obstacle to the development of southern countries. It thus crystallises all opposition, but this means that it impedes deliberation on other possible dimensions of development. The necessary denunciation of economic dumping must prepare the way for other forms of social and ecological distortions to be taken into account, distortions that will lead to a fundamental rethink of production, consumption and food industry trading.


Jacques Berthomé
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