75% of poor families don’t buy their food; they grow it.
- In developing countries, agriculture continues to be the main source of income, employment, and livelihood for 70-95% of the country.
- Climate change, drought, and unpredictable rainfall are some of the most common causes of food shortage – these consistently cause crop failure and can kill herds of livestock.
- The rise of food production has put a high demand on small farms in underdeveloped countries; many cannot keep up with market demands and the result is impoverishment.
- Area is key to agricultural growth, but land is scarce.
- One third of the food produced around the world is never consumed.
Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.
– Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington
THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
Small farmers often trek miles to the nearest water source and only bring back enough water for a small amount of crops.
It’s important to note that farming in developing countries is a large part of life. 90% of the economy is usually made up of agriculture workers. In the US, the number of agricultural workers makes up only a small percentage. Often, farmers face immense challenges such as plant disease, unproductive soil, drought, and pests. Lack of access to seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides add to the hardship. If innovations and efforts can be made to improve their standard of living, then the majority of poor would be given a better quality of life.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I understand.“
Sustainable Trade Development
Sustainable trade development is one of the best ways to combat poverty. Teaching the skills for farming not only gives people the skills to have a sustainable income, but it also allows them to stay in their homes as proud members of their community. They can pass these trade skills onto others in their families as well, benefiting society and the global economy as a whole. Without these skills people often end up living immoral lives on the street. Teaching basic farm skills not only eases hunger, but fulfills the mission of our apostolates in bringing a better quality of life, good morals, and a further step towards the conquest for Heaven.
The Fraternity of Saint Peter has initiated a number of different farm projects around the world. Sustainable crops for farmers and trade skill education have been a huge success! The rise of solidarity among the small villages Anolaima & Umuaka has increased dramatically since the arrival of the FSSP priests and is ever growing. The villages produce crops of coffee, cacao, fruits, and vegetables, various kinds of animals, and even a fish pond for Tilapia (in Colombia). It also provides a way for the people to give to the local apostolate as monetary support is not always possible. The farms supply for education and personal formation. They are of immeasurable value. We are proud to say the Fraternity’s work brings great hope and helps one person at a time to being free from poverty.
Catholic Social Teaching – Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Jesus rescued the adulteress from stoning, ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and healed the sick and the sinner. He promised the most severe punishments for those who were indifferent to the plight of the poor:
Human life is sacred. The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. The Gospel calls us to be people of great love. In this mission, we are called to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
Christians through the ages have sought to take the example and words of Jesus to heart and to live them in social settings. Catholic social teaching is an offspring of this effort.
On the Dignity of Human Work
Work is, as has been said, an obligation, that is to say, a duty, on the part of man. . . Man must work, both because the Creator has commanded it and because of his own humanity, which requires work in order to be maintained and developed. Man must work out of regard for others, especially his own family, but also for the society he belongs to, the country of which he is a child, and the whole human family of which he is a member, since he is the heir to the work of generations and at the same time a sharer in building the future of those who will come after him in the succession of history. On Human Work (Laborem Exercens. . . ), #16