Despite popular belief — the road to eliminating poverty is not lined with food parcels. Though it may help feed a person for a day, a week, or even a month, it doesn’t make life any easier in the long-term. After all the food is consumed, the recipient still feels hungry and undignified — having to ask or be dependent on others for sustenance.
What does help, however, is empowering people through self-sustainability — in this case, agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is when people make most efficient use of their natural resources. Giving people the ability to grow their own food and sell the fruits of their labour helps more than a short-term solution. Though this may not be feasible on a larger scale in some parts of the world (like urban landscapes) — it is pretty attainable for those living in more agricultural areas.
Still not convinced? Here are a few ways sustainable agriculture can eliminate poverty:
1. When more people partake in sustainable agriculture, food production increases:
When production per household increases, everyone has more to eat — and more to sell. It’s really that simple.
2. More training and resources lead to self-sufficiency:
Rather than investing resources into just perishable items, one should also give people livestock, tools and materials to build something sustainable. With a little bit of instruction and materials like seeds, you supply nutrition for an entire family. In terms of livestock, smaller animals like goats, sheep, rabbits or chickens are easy to maintain and breed. These animals can also provide beneficial protein for the family and in the market.
3. Sustainable farming creates confident communities:
As each family experiences different types of success, they may pass their knowledge on to their neighbours and community. As families share ideas and goods, it creates a closer-knit community. Self-sufficiency also creates a healthier families with the confidence to work hard. This can also spill-over into the realm of education — where more people can afford to get an education and participate more in the larger community.
Islamic Relief is implementing innovative food solutions all over the world — more recently, through our new Food for Life program. We believe that the answer to poverty is not a short-term project — but rather long-term sustainable solutions. That’s why we are working with communities to develop self-sufficient food projects that not only help families sustain themselves, but create a positive ripple effect in their society. Donate today.