Participatory Research and Development for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management: A Sourcebook - Vol. 2

By Julian Gonsalves; Thomas Becker et al. | Go to book overview

41
Campesino a Campesino in
Cuba:
Agrarian Transformation for
Food Sovereignty

Campesino a campesino is a farmer–led movement that has been in the forefront of sustainable agricultural development in Latin America for nearly 30 years. More than just a program or project, campesino a campesino spreads sustainable agricultural practices by building on farmers’ social capacity to generate agroecological knowledge. The movement “walks” on the legs of farmer innovation and solidarity, and “works” with one hand for food production and another to protect the environment. The movement has a “heart” that loves the land, family, and community, and has “eyes” and “voice” to share its vision for a sustainable future.

The Campesino a Campesino Movement (MCAC) has been highly successful in spreading sustainable agriculture on the ground. Hundreds of thousands of smallholders in Latin America have reclaimed eroded land, raised productivity, and improved their livelihoods. With the technical and logistical support of non–government organizations (NGOs) and farmer organizations, the promotores of MCAC have succeeded where formal agricultural research centers failed: they have decentralized and democratized the development of sustainable agriculture.

Campesino a campesino’s operating
principles are built on well–known,
people–centered approaches to
agricultural development:
obtain rapid and recognizable results
start small, go slowly
develop a multiplier effect
small–scale experimentation
limit the introduction of technology

However, MCAC’s farms are still sustainable “islands” in a conventional “sea.” Sustainable agriculture is not the norm in Latin America, and agroecology does not greatly influence mainstream research agendas. If sustainable agriculture is so

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