When I went to work this morning, I wasn’t afraid of being robbed on the streets. I arrived at the office and wasn’t at all afraid of being mistreated by my boss or colleagues. The thought of not being paid at the end of the month also didn’t cross my mind. Whenever I want to do or learn something, I know it’s only one Google search away from me. I can basically go, do, learn and become wherever and whatever I want. It is a fact I’m hardly ever aware of, because it simply seems normal to me.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Especially not for most of the 500 million smallholder farmers that produce 70 to 80 percent of the food we consume. Taking their households into account, we are talking about more than 2 billion people. Most of us have a romanticised idea of farmer life; living on the peaceful country side, connected with nature… Sounds great! The sad reality however, is that over 60% of these farmers don’t even earn enough to enjoy a proper meal themselves. What it comes down to, is that they don’t earn enough to buy the food they produce themselves.
A lot of this has to do with their remoteness, and a poor political and financial structure in their country. This results in financial exclusion from the global economy. Most of these farmers live in rural areas and belong to a demographic that is the least likely to have access to an official proof of identity. Without official records, it is very difficult for them to proof their ownership or to build up a financial track record. This, in turn, makes it difficult for them to get access to loans or insurances, which makes them the most vulnerable when socio-economic or environmental disasters occur. Their remoteness and lack of official documents puts them in a weak negotiation position, leaving room for structural underpayment and bad working conditions. It allows for human rights violations like child labour to persevere even in today’s world.