BY JABOURY GHAZOUL

At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in 2021, 26 countries pledged to introduce new policies to foster more sustainable and less polluting agriculture. “Nature-based climate solutions” were hyped as a means to make “food and farming sexy.” All of this is in the abstract. “Agriculture” itself is an abstraction that glosses over the diverse and complex realities of farming. International governmental pledges can be signed and lauded, but are of little value if not subsequently implemented through the management practices of farmers. These farmers live within quite different realities to those of the policy makers and the general public. Their decisions are weighed in the context of environmental constraints and challenges, economic uncertainties, labor and capital needs, and public perceptions and pressures expressed directly or through the market.

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