Small-scale farmers – The saviors of Mother Earth?

22nd of April is International Mother Earths Day, designed by the UN through a resolution adopted 2009. I actually had no idea, until my mother told me. 

This day reminds me of a bus journey in February 2020 in Colombia that made deep impact. I was on a bus from Ibague to Mocoa. A few hours before final destination, I suddenly saw this through the bus window – a total deforestation.

It’s actually a quite common scenery when traveling on the countryside in Colombia. Large forest areas are cut down to feed cattle or plant palm-trees. Livestock production is a very profitable business. Even in my dads village Icononzo, that used to be rich in coffee production, ex-coffee farmers have become cattle farmers to get sustainable livelihood, without having an idea of it’s devastating environmental impact.

I’m glad I found this videoclip in my mobile to show you as an example of the consequences of industrial agriculture in a developing economy. 

During an ocean of time Nature has designed a perfect system of photosynthesis, interplay between flora, fauna and of ecosystems. There are several million spices on Earth and this whole system of Life took a billion years to develop. We know ecosystems support all life on Earth, including ours.

The word in Swedish for food is “livsmedel” where “livs” means lifes’ and “medel” is means. Hence – Lifemeans or the Means of Life. Isn’t that just an amazing word?

So why do we over and over again disrupt biodiversity by over-exploiting it’s resources, as in this example through deforestation, intensified agriculture and livestock production, risking it all? This makes me so sad and angry. How is it possible? Knowing all we know today.

So yes, we really need an International Mother Earth Day more than ever, to highlight there is still so much work to do. It’s not an easy task and we need to cooperate across many fields.

When it comes to Food and its production I believe it has to be functional and sustainable all the way from the consumer to the people who work with the soil AND beyond – including our life-giving Mother Earth. Otherwise, no bananas. As simple as that.

From my perspective as Direct Trader, small-scale organic farming is part of the solution, which also the UN has defined in some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

  • SDG 2.3 Double productivity and income of small scale food producers.
  • SDG 2.4 Sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices.
  • SDG 2.5 Maintain the genetic diversity in food production.
  • SDG 15 Protect Biodiversity and natural habitat.

Soon we are up in 300 farmers in our network in Colombia, farming on a total of 580 hectares (ha) organic certified land, targeting for 995 ha by 2022. How to motivate them? By paying Direct Trade prices and avoiding middle-men, the farmers get long-term sustainable livelihood.

However, this is not possible without you as consumer. You are also a savior, even if that thought can feel a bit strange. 

Take care and remember where you do the right fruit! /Nathalie

I always love to hear what you think: nathalie@nathaliesdirecttrade.se !

Fin del Mundo, Mocoa - Colombia
Fin del Mundo, Mocoa – Colombia