More about food self-reliance

HOPE International Development Agency is helping families learn how to grow food in a sustainable manner.

For the majority of people living in the developing world, livelihoods are invariably linked to the land on which they live.

Survival depends upon good crop yields that will feed families and communities, and agricultural production is greatly influenced by climate, water availability, disease, and extreme weather conditions.

Poor weather is problematic for all food-producers, but the difference between a developing world farmer and his counterpart in the developed world is that the former often does not have the savings and resources needed to replant in the event of crop failure.

Limited access to fertile land and increasing marginalization of small scale farmers makes a sustainable harvest difficult to attain. Furthermore, due to a lack of access to improved farming methods and technology that utilize principles of agroecology and sustainable agriculture, problems of soil depletion pose an additional challenge.

Starvation is not the result of food production shortages, but rather of inequitable food distribution.

Millions of people lack access to adequate nutrition not because of scarcity, but because of economic limitations as well as governmental and agricultural policy failures. Due to political and economic influences, much of the food produced in developing countries does not stay within their domestic borders but is exported to foreign markets. While exports represent cash inputs to the economy, the distribution of income is often skewed such that large landholders benefit, while subsistence farmers continue to struggle. This lack of local food distribution produces starving nations.

Rural subsistence farmers are all too familiar with the link between the environment and human development.

Women are taught about family planning and other health and life strategies which empower women. Moreover, women with access to clean water are less likely to contract water-related illnesses and will spend less time caring for sick family members.

Issues such as access to arable land and sufficient water for their crops and livestock are a constant source of worry and concern. Without reliable access to water comes an acute sense of vulnerability. Nowhere is the need to develop effective strategies to deal with agricultural challenges more pressing than in an area dependent upon rain-fed agriculture, where unpredictable rainfall patterns can wreak havoc on local populations. In countries where the majority of people rely on agricultural production for their livelihoods, water shortages can translate into a major human development threat.

Everyone deserves access to resources that sustain livelihoods. These resources include tools, seeds, and access to an evolving knowledge of improved cultivation techniques and practices.

If resources such as draft animals or knowledge about composting are not made available, maintaining an agricultural livelihood can prove difficult or impossible. By providing access to knowledge and resources, a sense of control is gained by the people living in areas susceptible to unpredictable weather patterns.

HOPE International Development Agency works with the rural poor in developing countries to identify the best cultivation practices for generating higher and more reliable yields in a sustainable manner.

To this end, we build on existing indigenous knowledge and works in partnership with communities to find solutions that cater to their self-identified needs.