Technology such as affordable pumps has helped many families in the poorest parts of the world to irrigate their small plots. This has boosted the harvest and family incomes. In sub-Saharan countries, the access to water makes a big difference between going hungry or having enough food to support the family.
Food insecurity and undernutrition are low on priority list of most countries, particularly in Africa. The results are staggering: perpetuated poverty, threatened human survival, and economic stagnation.
Agriculture is still remaining the backbone of the economy of many African countries. It is practiced as permanent occupation by a very large number of small scale farmers. The increasing use of agrochemicals threatens the ecological support of agriculture.
Development policymakers, academics and practitioners gathered at a ‘provocation’ seminar led by IIED in Stockholm, Sweden on the 3rd of March 2011 to discuss whether their approaches to supporting small-scale farmers should be based on markets or rights.