To the extent that our work as research scientists contributes to agricultural development, we have a moral responsibility to explore the social and societal implications of our research. Agricultural development in poor countries is impossible unless the resulting agriculture is profitable for the farmers. Each of the authors in this series will make their own views clear on that subject. Relevance: Ethical issues might be raised with respect to many types of technology. How to maintain a balanced perspective? THE EMERGENCE OF “SUSTAINABILITY” AS A GUIDING CONCEPT. There was nothing romantic about subsistence farming in Kansas or South Dakota during the Great Depression. 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With kind permission from Peter Rosset of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (or as it is also known), chapter 10 of World Hunger: 12 Myths, 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998) has been posted here. Yet a third reason for the near constant need to reconsider our choices is that new ideas can and do enter our moral worlds. will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law. Thus, here are the outlines of an ethical debate: Is the health of rural communities in developed countries and the desire to please certain consumers more important than the food security of millions in developing countries? Some argue that genes and genomes belong to all humankind and are too important to be restricted from free access and use by all. Is Covid-19 a bacteria or a virus? Because they are part of that most noble of human endeavors, to feed the people of the Earth, they have a “moral confidence” in their profession and often fail to see the need to examine their choices. Subsidies in farming in the US and elsewhere end up encouraging unhealthy foods to be cheaper than healthy foods. In the past few decades, more powerful nations have used this as a foreign policy tool for dominance rather than for real aid. Beyond these ecological considerations, there is social sustainability, which refers to the sustainability of the rural community structure. (2002): “One major step (toward sustainable agriculture) would be achieved were agricultural subsidies in the United States, EU and Japan redirected toward sustainable practices.” At the moment, we still invest only modestly in research that will push agriculture toward sustainability, and we do not use our subsidies to bring about this transformation, although the picture may be changing in Europe. To solve world hunger in the long run, poverty alleviation is required. Can Africas Third Industrial Development Decade Deliver? If efforts are only directed at providing food, or improving food production or distribution, then the structural root causes that create hunger, poverty and dependency would still remain. Because agricultural development in less developed countries is an absolute requirement for general development (see Eicher and Staatz, 1998), it is likely that this would narrow the gap between rich and poor and enhance the security of our country in the long term. The United States supports soil conservation measures, and in the 1980s, more than 10 million ha of highly erodable land were put in the Conservation Reserve. According toTilman et al. Research and government policies that promote cheap commodities, therefore, have both positive and negative outcomes. This means that their governments should promote the type of development that allows city dwellers to have access to cheap food produced by their own farmers. John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, gave an overview of the major issues that are currently affecting agriculture in South Africa. In the last one-half of the 20th century, a different model emerged from developed countries: sustainable and multifunctional agriculture. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). NOTE: We only request your email address so that the person you are recommending the page to knows that you wanted them to see it, and that it is not junk mail. Nations and regions, such as the US and EU have in the past battled in a trade war over how bananas are exported and imported, affected the poorest in the producing countries the most. Agroecology. All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.