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Why do agricultural markets fail?

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It continues to fascinate me to see global agricultural systems fail so drastically. On the one hand, this sector is so fundamental to human life and so important for so many economies; on the other, it keeps hundreds of millions of people in poverty and leads to massive environmental degradation.

We see these sustainability issues in almost every part of agriculture, fishing, or forestry. There are hardly exceptions. While some crops are mostly linked to massive deforestation, others are related to large-scale poverty and issues such as slavery and human trafficking, while still others are mostly linked to environmental degradation or water depletion. Although the symptoms may vary, the underlying causes and principals are the same and they are very similar to the patterns and forces we have seen in the previous chapter. They are now occurring on the largest scale imaginable.

Now let's sit back, take the third-person point of view; let's think in loops, apply the principles of failing systems to agriculture, and watch the drama of the agricultural “dance of destiny” unfold
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Keywords: African farmers; business management; food systems; innovation; leadership; market transformation; social safety nets; sustainable agriculture; sustainable food production; unsustainablity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2014

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