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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 11: Eating for Good Health
close this folderWays to Work toward Better Nutrition
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTrying a new idea
View the documentWorking toward a balance between people and land

Working toward a balance between people and land

Most food comes from the land. Land that is used well can produce more food. But even the best used piece of land can only feed a certain number of people. And today, many of the people who farm do not have enough land to meet their needs or to stay healthy.

For this reason, some people argue that ‘the small family lives better’. For many poor families, however, having many children is an economic necessity. Because of the work they do to help the family, children of poor families often produce more than they cost by the time they are 10 or 12 years old. Having a lot of children also makes it more likely the parents will have someone to give the help and care they need in old age.

So lack of social and economic security creates the need for parents to have many children. Therefore, the answer to gaining a balance between people and land does not come from telling poor people to have smaller families. It comes from sharing the land more fairly, paying fair wages, and taking other steps to overcome poverty. Only then can people afford small families. Then we can hope to achieve a lasting balance between people and land.