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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

April 22, 2015  South Africa: Saying No to Xenophobia
    "Finally, one word about 'foreigners' and 'migrants'. No African is a foreigner in Africa! No African is a migrant in Africa! Africa is where we all belong, notwithstanding the foolishness of our boundaries. No amount of national-chauvinism will erase this. No amount of deportations will erase this. Instead of spilling black blood on no other than Pixley ka Seme Avenue (!), we should all be making sure that we rebuild this Continent and bring to an end a long and painful history - that which, for too long, has dictated that to be black (it does not matter where or when), is a liability." - Achille Mbembe

April 14, 2015  Europe/Africa: Deaths at Sea
    According to the International Organization of Migration, at least 480 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. in 2014, according to the UN High Commission on Refugees, at least 3,500 lost their lives. Yet, says the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the European Union program for search-and-rescue at sea is "woefully inadequate," in comparison to the previous Mare Nostrum program run by Italy, which ended late last year.

April 8, 2015  Garissa: Not Just Numbers
    "I want to go to a place. A piece of ground, also a place online, where we can find the names of all those who have died for Kenya since 1963. I want to know their names. I want to walk and walk, listen and witness, know the lives of those no longer visible to me, but whose blood mattered." - Binyavanga Wainaina

March 30, 2015  South Africa: Energy Futures Contested
    The energy crisis in South Africa, with regular "load-shedding" due to shortages of power from the monopoly utility Eskom, is now at the top of the political agenda, featuring in President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in February and in ongoing disputes about who is responsible and when the situation can be fixed. The long-term strategy to exit the crisis and begin a transition to a sustainable energy system is also marked by strong disagreements between utility and government officials and their critics.

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

March 23, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Swiss Connections
March 17, 2015  
    Africa: Higher Education Must Be Higher Priority
March 10, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Falling Short on Climate Finance
March 3, 2015  
    East Africa: Water, Wind, and Lake Turkana
February 24, 2015  
    USA/Somalia: Rising Threat to Remittances
February 18, 2015  
    Africa: Privatizing Land and Seeds
February 11, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Archbishop Tutu on Fossil-Fuel Divestment
February 5, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Stopping Capital Losses
January 26, 2015  
    Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings
January 21, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Ebola Lessons & Questions
January 13, 2015  
    Nigeria: Elections/Security Disconnect
January 6, 2015  
    Sierra Leone: Losing Out
December 15, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Postponing Climate Decisions
December 8, 2014  
    Africa: Reflections from an Elder Statesman
December 1, 2014  
    USA/Nigeria: Uneasy Alliance
November 19, 2014  
    Africa: Past Time for Bandaids

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