Small farmers have played an important role in every nation’s economic and social development. They constitute the vital and indispensible core of every agricultural system, from Malaysia and other emerging markets in South-East Asia to Europe and North America.
Malaysia’s small farmers are not unique – their efforts can be witnessed in the farmlands of Iowa in the United States and the Rhone Valley in France and in almost every country where the spirit of free enterprise is promoted. Small farmers in every country and region hold common cause with Malaysia’s small farmers, where producing food and feeding communities is a calling. After all, this was the basic origin of human society, where towns and cities sprang from the efforts of early agriculture producers.
And small farmers throughout the world are faced with the same challenges. Far from being celebrated and applauded for their contribution to global food security, they are being ignored.
Unfortunately, Malaysian small farmers are unique in the fact that he have become the targets of unsettling and inaccurate attacks from Western Environmental non-governmental organizations (WENGOs), who claim that small farmers are causing environmental harm. Amidst these mischaracterizations, WENGOs are demanding that small farmers be certified under WENGO sustainability schemes, an unprecedented demand never before imposed on small farmers throughout the world.
Small farmers throughout the world need to join together to show consumers where their food is coming from, and the important role that small farmers play in supporting sustainability and economic prosperity. And small farmers in Europe and the US should show consumers in their communities the important contributions made by their colleagues throughout the rich and poor world.