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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

May 13, 2016  Mozambique: Debt Crisis & the Panama Papers
    The paragraph that originally appeared here, citing AIM, and the cited article from AIM, reposted by AfricaFocus on May 13, 2016, have been removed from this AfricaFocus web archive on this page pursuant to a request from AIM, as a result of complaints to AIM on behalf of Privinvest by its public relations firm Woodstock Leasor Limited and its legal representative Michael Simkins LLP, both in London. For more details on the AIM retraction, see below.

May 5, 2016  Uganda: Accountability and Child Soldiers
    "After two decades spent fighting in the bush, Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), faces trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on seventy counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. ... the first time that a former child soldier will be prosecuted at the ICC and the first time that an accused faces charges for the same crimes perpetrated against him. As such, the Ongwen trial raises myriad questions and poses difficult dilemmas regarding the prosecution of child soldiers." - Justice in Conflict symposium

April 27, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 2
    "It has been two years since the world's deadliest terrorist organization – Boko Haram – abducted 271 girls from their high school in the town of Chibok – a tragedy that would shine much needed international attention on conflict in northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, the Chibok girls are only one part of a much larger story of violence against women and girls in the northeast. ... the needs of all those whom the Chibok girls symbolize – thousands upon thousands who have suffered gender-based violence at Boko Haram's hands – are being unaddressed." - Refugees International

April 27, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 1
    The realities of violence, whether in Nigeria, other African countries, or indeed in rich countries such as the United States as well, are often far more complicated than the stereotypes that often prevail among those observing them from a distance. Thus, violence in Nigeria is often simplistically characterized as "religious conflict" between Muslims and Christians. A new collection of empirical studies released this year by Nigeria Watch, based in Ibadan, Nigeria, provides a more complex perspective, documenting, for instance, that intra-Muslim conflict is more common that conflicts between Muslims and Christians, and that much of the conflict involving both Muslims and Christians is based on secular rather than religious motives.

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

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
February 1, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Accounting Tricks with Coca-Cola
January 25, 2016  
    Africa: Charting the Digital Gender Gap
January 19, 2016  
    Africa: Stealth Assault on African Seeds
December 10, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Beyond the Paris Climate Talks
December 1, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Changing "the Media"
November 19, 2015  
    Africa: Boosting ICTs
November 11, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Follow the Money
November 5, 2015  
    Europe/Africa: Dialogue Unlikely at Migration Summit
October 28, 2015  
    South Sudan: Hard-Hitting Report from African Union

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