Paul Lachine

Una gran oportunidad para los pequeños agricultores

NUEVA YORK – La iniciativa del G-8 de destinar 20.000 millones de dólares a las pequeñas explotaciones agrícolas, lanzada en la reciente reunión de ese grupo en L’Aquila (Italia) es un potencial hito histórico en la lucha contra el hambre y la pobreza extrema. Con una gestión seria de los nuevos fondos, la producción de alimentos en África se disparará. De hecho, la nueva iniciativa, combinada con otras en materia de salud, educación e infraestructuras, podría ser el mayor paso hasta ahora para lograr los fines de desarrollo del Milenio, el esfuerzo internacionalmente acordado para reducir a la mitad la pobreza extrema, la enfermedad y el hambre en 2015, a más tardar.

Durante el período 2002-2006, yo dirigí el Proyecto del Milenio de las Naciones Unidas, encaminado a lograr los objetivos de desarrrollo del milenio, para el entonces Secretario General de las NN.UU., Kofi Annan. Una de las piedras angulares del proyecto eran los “agricultores con pequeñas explotaciones”, es decir, familias de agricultores de África, América Latina y Asia: explotaciones agrícolas de una hectárea, aproximadamente, o menos. Se trata de algunos de los hogares más pobres del mundo y también –cosa que resulta irónica– algunos de los más hambrientos, pese a ser productores de alimentos.

Pasan hambre porque carecen de la capacidad para comprar semillas de gran rendimiento, fertilizantes, equipo de riego y otros instrumentos necesarios para aumentar la productividad. A consecuencia de ello, su producción es escasa e insuficiente para su subsistencia. Su pobreza causa poca productividad agrícola y ésta intensifica su pobreza. Es un círculo vicioso, técnicamente denominado “trampa de la pobreza”.

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