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Talking Points on Food and Agriculture

  • International agencies agree that small farmers are key to addressing poverty and food insecurity in Africa. But commercial monopolization of seeds and land grabs by both foreign and domestic investors make a mockery of international pledges to help small farmers. This replicates the takeover of land and agriculture by agribusiness in the United States and other rich countries.

  • Studies have found that attention to small farmers can be the most effective strategy for increasing food production and providing income to the rural population. But there are few effective controls on the rush of investment into land by speculators and commercial enterprises. Farmers who lose their land wait in vain for promised replacement jobs. In South Africa and Namibia, the issue of land distribution remains unresolved.

  • At the same time, multinational companies such as Monsanto, which monopolize the supply of commercial seeds and fertilizer, erode the independence of small farmers by pressuring governments to outlaw traditional practices of seed saving and sharing. The companies' monopolistic strategies are supported by public and private international donors, such as USAID and the Gates Foundation.

U.S.-based Monsanto is one of the largest global agribusiness companies. Its business relies on expanding commercial control over rights to seeds.

 

Recent bulletins on food and agriculture


AfricaFocus Bulletin

July 26, 2016  Africa/Global: Not Yet "End of AIDS"
    At the 21st International AIDS Conference in South Africa last week, "optimism faded as delegates arrived to news that donor countries had reduced global HIV funding by more than $1 billion from 2014 to 2015. ... Nearly 20 million people are [still] in need of antiretroviral therapy. [and] nearly half of the $44 billion cost could be unfunded between 2016 and 2020." - Washington Post, July 25, 2016

July 15, 2016  Zimbabwe: #WageTheft
    "An astounding 80,000 Zimbabwe workers in formal employment--out of some 350,000 workers--did not receive wages and benefits on time in 2014, according to a new Solidarity Center report, 'Working Without Pay: Wage Theft in Zimbabwe,' released today in Harare." - Solidarity Center

July 15, 2016  Zimbabwe: #ThisFlag
    "The Zimbabwean regime did not expect Pastor Evan Mawarire to be set free on Wednesday night. But unprecedented public pressure forced the magistrate's hand, with a little help from blundering police. Look away now, Comrade Bob, because Zimbabwe will never be the same again." - Daily Maverick, July 14, 2016

July 6, 2016  Cuba/Sierra Leone: Reclaiming Slave-Trade History
    As recognition grows that the legacy of slavery and the slave trade is still embedded in the structural inequalities of today's world, scholars are finding new ways to make the lost connections visible. One dramatic and inspiring illustration, featured in this issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin, is the film "They Are We," showing the rediscovery and re-connection in person with their African relatives of an Afro-Cuban community which still celebrates their heritage with dances and songs in a language almost forgotten by current generations even in its villages of origin in Sierra Leone. The film, first released in Cuba in 2013, features the story of this rediscovery, in the voices and faces of the communities who collaborated in the making of the film.

More on: politics&human rights|peace&security|health|economy|ict

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

June 30, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Air Pollution Threats & Solutions
June 22, 2016  
    Africa/Global: "Stop the Bleeding" Updates
June 13, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Don't Be a Fossil Fool
Jun   2, 2016  
    Liberia/Global: Financial Secrecy at Work
May 26, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Migrants' Rights Roundup
May 13, 2016  
    Mozambique: Debt Crisis & the Panama Papers
May   5, 2016  
    Uganda: Accountability and Child Soldiers
April 27, 2016  
    Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 2
April 27, 2016  
    Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 1
April 11, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Panama Papers Tip of Iceberg
Apr   5, 2016  
    USA/Global: When Elephants Fight
March 23, 2016  
    Namibia: Meeting Expectations?
March 16, 2016  
    Africa: Tolerance and Intolerance in Perspective
March 9, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Making Choices on Climate Future
February 29, 2016  
    USA/Africa: Rising Opposition to Tax Evasion
February 16, 2016  
    Africa: Ghosts at the African Union Summit

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Africa News
Aug 31, 2016
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