From two Ethiopians, what small farmers really want

grist.org
By Nathanael Johnson
November 03,2014

Birtukan and Dadi Buta on Skype at Oxfam America in Washington, D.C. Source - grist.org
Birtukan and Dadi Buta on Skype at Oxfam America in Washington, D.C.
Source – grist.org

In this series trying to figure out how we humans can best feed ourselves, I’ve been talking to lots of researchers about farmers, especially the small family farmers in Africa and Asia. If these farmers can find a way to thrive and to educate their children, it will go a long way toward simultaneously halting population growth and providing enough food to the people who need it most.

But I’ve been talking a lot about these farmers, not with them. It’s all very well to ponder the best ways to reduce poverty in the abstract, but there are people for whom these issues are as real as the dirt they plow and the grain they cook. The policies of richer countries and charities could change the lives of their family members for generations. What do they want?

Oxfam America recently brought some Ethiopian farmers to the United States, and I jumped at the opportunity to interview two of them.

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