Emerging Markets / September 17, 2018

Boosting Sustainable Agriculture in Emerging Regions

The issue of governance in developing regions is closely tied to dependence, which can breed both social and economic poverty. Improper governance leads to a vicious cycle that prevents progress, due to the bad management of key societal elements such as basic infrastructure and the educational system. In many parts of the world, economic dependence should be understood in the light of the historical context, considering issues such as colonial legacies. In this regard, the agricultural and manufacturing dependence of emerging regions can be attributed, at least in part, to the reality of small states facing the dynamics of global markets and the world’s most advanced economies.

Boosting Sustainable Agriculture in Emerging Regions

Between the 1950s and the 1980s a great transformation took place in Western farming systems because of the advances of mechanization and the widespread introduction of chemical additives into agricultural techniques. It was thanks to the invention and development of machines, such as tractors, that a farm that could only feed 100 people in 1950 could feed 800 by the 1980s. Today, the average farm in the United States can produce enough to feed some 200 people. Unfortunately, the benefits of agricultural mechanization are not shared with developing countries in places such as Latin America and Africa.

A modern tractor is best used in industrialized nations to exploit large fields with only one or a few crops, that is to say, operations focused mainly on monoculture. Therefore, the average large-scale farmer in North America or Europe specializes in a few series of unique crops to optimize the productivity of modern tractors and machinery. Likewise, because tractors require flat land, they are more useful in the production of cereals and grains than in the production of niche fruits and vegetables or in mixed-used operations. Beyond their functionality, modern agricultural machinery requires a level of regular maintenance and infrastructure that is largely unavailable for most farmers in developing countries.

Therefore, for decades, the advances of mechanization have not had as significant an impact in developing regions as they have in industrialized economies. Similarly, the so-called green revolution of the 1960s and 1970s also worsened the growing inequality between agriculture in industrialized nations and the developing world. For the most part, the creation of genetically modified crops, the use of tractors and other agricultural machinery, the prevalence of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agricultural production has led to the deep impoverishment of rural farmers throughout the developing world. The green revolution has strongly favored farmers with reliable access to credit, unlimited water, and other basic infrastructure. Meanwhile, small rural farmers are forced to buy fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified seeds in order to try to compete with the industry’s major producers.

This is why Farmfolio is empowering a new generation of organic and sustainable agricultural producers throughout Latin America. Farmfolio’s Farmshare offerings contribute to the communities where they are settled, while also benefiting our stakeholders and investors. Farmfolio’s investment model is unprecedented when it comes to foreign investment because it provides for sustainable economic development for the developing world.

(Read more about China and Foreign Investment in Latin America)