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Why do you support small-scale farmers?

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“I stand with small-scale farmers because…”

Last week on Facebook, I asked you to fill in the blank and tell us why you support small farmers around the world. Dozens of you chimed in, creating a motivational stream of comments. Here are some of my favorites:

“That’s where true food security stands.” – Jean Armstrong Nick

Rice farmer Pierre-Louis Elusmé, 64, at his home in Brocozele village, Haiti. Oxfam is working with rice grower cooperatives in the Artibonite River valley to help them improve their production and processing, and earn more for their crop. Photo: Brett Eloff/Oxfam America
Rice farmer Pierre-Louis Elusmé, 64, at his home in Brocozele village, Haiti. Oxfam is working with rice grower cooperatives in the Artibonite River valley to help them improve their production and processing, and earn more for their crop. Photo: Brett Eloff/Oxfam America

“Land equals livelihoods.” – Maria Belding

Photo: Creativos/Oxfam
Small-business owner and fruit seller Olga Alicia Pérez, pictured, lives in San Miguel Chicaj’ in central Guatemala. Photo: Creativos/Oxfam

“I trust them more than agri-industrial farms.” – Kathleen Bobb

Comfort Adeniyi, a cocoa farmer, on her farm in Ayetoro-Ijesa, Nigeria. Photo: George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America
Comfort Adeniyi, a cocoa farmer, on her farm in Ayetoro-Ijesa, Nigeria. Photo: George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

“They are the best investment to ending world hunger!” – Kelsey Day

Farmer Marcel Ouedraogo, near Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, April 2013. Photo: Brett Eloff / Oxfam America
Farmer Marcel Ouedraogo, near Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, April 2013. Photo: Brett Eloff / Oxfam America

“I am a small-scale farmer too!” – Benjie Robinson and Vannavy Civic

Farmers Selas Biru, of Ethiopia (center), and Nelly Velandia, of Colombia, right, joined farmers in Iowa for Oxfam's World Food Day celebration. Photo: Ilene Perlman/Oxfam America
Selas Biru, of Ethiopia, center, and Nelly Velandia, of Colombia, right, joined fellow farmers in Iowa for Oxfam’s World Food Day celebration. Photo: Ilene Perlman/Oxfam America

Why are small-scale farmers so important to Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and hunger? Because about one in three workers worldwide rely on agriculture to earn a living. More than half of them are women, who are often overrepresented in the lowest-paid jobs. For both women and men, working on or owning a farm is no guarantee of a decent income: ironically, up to 80 percent of the world’s chronically hungry people are farmers. In order to help end hunger, we must make sure that poor farmers have the access, information, and opportunities they need to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive.

The global food system is a complicated machine, but together we are making changes to create a world where everyone has enough to eat.  Tell us your reasons for supporting small-scale farmers in the comments below, then take action to help by signing our petition to stop land grabs that leave farmers and their families hungry and homeless.

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