Les grands avantages des petites exploitations

ROME – Face à la fréquence accrue des sécheresses, les paysans du monde entier luttent pour préserver le rendement de leurs cultures. Aux Etats-Unis, les agriculteurs ont connu la pire sécheresse depuis plus d’un demi siècle. Les cours du maïs, du blé et du soja se sont envolés en juillet et août et restent élevés depuis.

Mais la longue période aride qui a desséché les récoltes dans une grande partie des Etats-Unis n’était que la dernière d’un cycle global de sécheresses de plus en plus fréquentes et dévastatrices. Dans le Sahel en Afrique, des millions de personnes sont confrontées à la famine, pour la troisième fois depuis 2005. L’absence de précipitations et la volatilité des prix des denrées alimentaires ont rendu une situation difficile plus terrible encore. En fait, ce sont les pauvres de ce monde – en particulier ceux des zones rurales – qui souffrent le plus de cette combinaison de facteurs.

Cela augure mal de notre avenir. A l’horizon 2050, la production alimentaire mondiale devra avoir augmenté de 60 pour cent pour répondre à la demande d’une population mondiale croissante, dont les habitudes alimentaires se modifient. Pour garantir la sécurité alimentaire de tous, il sera nécessaire non seulement d’accroître la production alimentaire, mais également sa disponibilité, particulièrement pour les populations des pays en développement. Il faudra pour cela faire tomber les barrières et les inégalités, renforcer les capacités et disséminer les connaissances. En Afrique, les petits cultivateurs – qui fournissent 80 pour cent des aliments de la région subsaharienne – ont besoin d’infrastructures permettant le développement de l’agriculture, dont des systèmes d’irrigation et des routes, et une meilleure organisation des marchés, ainsi qu’un accès aux technologies.

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