The report includes a trove of data proving the benefits of this paradigm shift, especially as we face an increasingly climate unstable future. In a particularly interesting chapter, Professor Miguel Altieri highlights the growing evidence about the role of sustainable agriculture practices in fostering farm resilience in the face of major climatic events. All the results showed those farmers with greater biodiversity and other agroecologcal qualities fared significantly better post-natural disasters.
After Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America, the Campesino o Campesino movement organized farmer research teams to evaluate the impact. They visited 1,804 farms in 360 communities in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. What they found was astounding: Those farmers who had adopted sustainable agriculture practices retained greater soil moisture and 20 to 40 percent more topsoil; they also experienced less soil erosion and economic losses.
The report also highlights how agribusiness and chemical corporations have influenced policy setting, regulatory agencies, and research institutions, slowing the spread of more sustainable practices in agriculture. To give just one example, Marcia Ishii-Eiteman from the Pesticide Action Network of North America describes how chemical corporations have influenced national and international chemical policy.
For instance, after Malaysia passed a 2002 ban of the highly toxic chemical herbicide, Paraquat, its manufacturer Syngenta joined the country’s palm oil industry to lobby to reverse the ban, which the government did in 2006. Today, Paraquat is still widely used there.