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Posted: June 30 2009

greenhorns, this is a most fabulous, understated dutch publication.


a worthwhile subscription, and available online--such a lot of academic research avail to us:
case studies
post graduate programs
for the academic agriculturalists especially.
LEISA: The Center for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture

Here is their latest e-newsletter... you can also read it and subscribe online
E-LEISA carries highlights from LEISA Magazine and keeps you in touch with the LEISA Network at www.leisa.info.
• Out now: Farmers as entrepreneurs
• A renewed LEISA Magazine: what information do you need?
• What does family farming mean to you?
• Open Forum: How sustainable is organic farming/Value chains
• Meet our editors in...
• On our blog
• News from the Global LEISA Network
• Upcoming issue: food sovereignty
Farmers as entrepreneurs
Small-scale farmers and their support institutions are becoming more convinced that there is little future for them unless they become more entrepreneurial in their approach to farming. Which means that they produce increasingly for markets – local, regional as well as global, and with a profit motive. There's nothing new about rural entrepreneurship. But the challenges faced by family farms in the South right now are unique in scope and scale. What options are there for small-scale farmers to become more entrepreneurial? Read the articles.
A renewed LEISA Magazine

Family farming matters. Because of that, and because of the 25th birthday of LEISA Magazine this year, we are making some changes to the magazine. We want to show even more clearly that sharing local experiences can make a large contribution towards solving global issues, such as climate change and sustainable food production. The last issue of this year (Sustaining the gains), will therefore look quite different from what you are used to. We hope you will tell us what kind of changes you would like to see in the magazine. Your contributions are welcome!
What does family farming mean to you?
We at LEISA Magazine feel small-scale farming, or family farming, matters. But why do you think it does? Send us your thoughts on why you think family farming is important – for the area or country you live in, for your well-being, or for society as a whole. The best entries will be included in the first issue of our renewed magazine. You can also send videos or photos, or whatever you think works well to express your thoughts. These can be published on our website. Contributions can be e-mailed to jubilee(at)ileia.nl, until October 1st.
Your photos – a lot to win!
We are still accepting entries to our photo contest on "The future of family farming". See our website for more details. We have also received entries to our call for photos of you reading LEISA Magazine. We like them so much, we want more! Keep sending them!
Do value chains help farmers out of poverty?

A value chain refers to all the steps a product takes, from its point of origin to the consumer. Many professionals think that improving conditions along the whole chain stimulates farmers to become more entrepreneurial, and gain a better income. Is an emphasis on value chain development indeed key to poverty reduction in rural areas? In the latest issue of LEISA Magazine, two experts address this question: Victor Clottey of the Network to Support Agricultural Intensification in sub-Saharan Africa, and Gertjan Becx, co-author of a research report on factors limiting entrepreneurship, Constrain constraints! What do you think? Join the debate on the Open Forum on our website.
How sustainable is organic agriculture?
In our issue on diversity, we asked whether organic food production is beginning to resemble conventional food production more and more? How sustainable is it still? Below is a summary of your responses on our forum. For a full overview of the discussion, click here.
"It is the best method to arrive at sustainable agriculture," says Niranjan Phuyal. "It might seem costly and less productive at first, but in the long run it will be the best method of agriculture, maintaining soil health and eco-system."
Carlos Escobar thinks organic agriculture is the one real solution to address questions of food security, climate change, and economical development. "To make organic products available to all people, we need more local and national markets. Sustainability can be achieved when there are more markets, more responsible consumers and more productive actions and plans."
Gamini Weerasinghe: "I have just given up an organic tea project as there were no markets to match the cost of production. There are many organic tea estates turning to conventional farming, due to lack of proper marketing."
For Abubacker Sidick, the sustainability of organic farming is obvious: "Local country ploughs used in rural Tamil Nadu till only a half foot deep. Below that, they run into a thick layer of chemical salt pan, due to massive application of chemical fertilizers. Organic agriculture helps in keeping the soil porous, making it easy for roots to grow."
Alberta Mutasa has a similar experience: "Before the chemical-based agricultural production evolved (Green Revolution plus), Zimbabwe was predominantly organic, and conservation practices were practiced, however raw. The most worrying thing is that families were more food secure fifty years ago than they are now!"
Jorge Chavez-Tafur will join Paulo Petersen and the editorial team of Agriculturas, our partners in Brasilia, Brazil, in July. They will participate in workshops that are part of the "Building Agroecological Knowledge" process; a nation-wide programme meant to document experiences related to agroecological research, education and extension. The results of the two workshops will later be brought to a national meeting, which will take place during the fifth Brazilian Agroecology Congress.
Contact: j.chavez-tafur(at)ileia.nl.
Our policy analyst Frank van Schoubroeck has just returned from Niger, where he looked into possible solutions to what some people call "Free-market induced famines" – the shops are full of food but people have no money to buy it. Together with Oxfam-Novib, and the villagers in the area, he looked into options for productivity. Read about his experiences on our blog.
A new partner: ALIN

The global LEISA Network has a new partner. ALIN, the Arid Lands Information Network, works with rural communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. In the near future, they will publish an edition of LEISA Magazine focusing on small-scale farming in this part of Africa. This East-African edition will be in English. The global LEISA Network now has seven partners, each publishing their own magazine on small-scale farming.
Brazil: national seminar
Our Brazilian partner, AS-PTA, is working towards a national seminar on building agro-ecological knowledge. The seminar is to be integrated with the 5th Brazilian Agroecology Congress, which will be held alongside the 2nd Latin American Agroecology Congress. In preparation of these events, AS-PTA is compiling initiatives in the field of research, teaching and rural extension initiatives that adopt an agro-ecological approach.
Salam now in full color
The next issue of Salam, the Indonesian edition of the global LEISA Network, will be in full color. It will also have more pages, and more sections. One of them, "Advokasi", will deal explicitly with the political aspects of agriculture. Theme of this first full-color issue is "Food Sovereignty".
China: special edition
will publish a special edition in the near future. This bound edition, which covers sustainable agriculture around the world, is aimed at farmers. It can also be used as a text book for students – articles are published in both English and Chinese. For more information, e-mail Ren Jian, editor of LEISA China, at renjian(at)cbik.ac.cn.
The next issue of LEISA Magazine, published in September, will be about women and food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is about the right of producers to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries system – as opposed to having them defined by international market forces. For small-scale farmers this means, among other things, having the right to land and resources.
IFOAM is organizing the first International Conference on Organic Breeding, for both plants and animals. Because organic plant and animal breeding share a great deal, each field can inspire the other to develop and build upon successful strategies, says IFOAM. The conference will be held from August 25-28, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
Keep in touch with us on LEISA’s Farm blog, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr!
E-LEISA is sent to you by ILEIA, an independent organisation supporting small-scale farmers in their search for sustainable alternatives to conventional agriculture. ILEIA is a member of the LEISA Network, a platform for the exchange of knowledge worldwide on small-scale sustainable farming. The network publishes seven magazines on sustainable small-scale farming: a global edition, LEISA Magazine, and six regional editions. Its readers – and contributors – are field workers, researchers, policy makers and farmers. All editions combined have close to 50,000 subscribers. For more information, visit www.leisa.info.