Friday, 21 September 2007

Missing the point?

In a paper from Belgium (Meert et al, 2005) about survival strategies and diversification on marginal farms they start saying:
"Since the second world war, farm incomes have lagged behind average incomes."
Then they say "a significant proportion of farm households face structural and chronic income problems."
Fine. (?)
But then they distinguish the "two different main causes of farm household poverty" as being:
"- farms that are too small, or whose structure is insufficiently adjusted to moderns standards and techniques;
- farms encountering difficulties because of poor financial management and/or accumulation of debts."
...Urgh! Again it is the poor farmers who are to blame, because they don't adapt to new techniques and requirements and because they are poor financial managers. Why then did things become so much worse after the Second World War, by coincidence the time when the Common Agricultural Policy was set up?!

As I'm reading on, I realize the article makes good sense. I suppose they just wanted to say something impressive at the outset, those standard phrases to begin with and to justify how important your research is.

Anyways, any study on income problems in agriculture MUST, according to my view, address their causes. And, as I've also defended in my literature review, it's great for farmers to diversify and make a living from farming despite agricultural policies, but agricultural policies themselves should deal with the root causes of the problem, rather than promoting the end-of pipe solution "diversification".

Hau - I've spoken :*)

No comments: