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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 6, 2015  Africa/Global: People's Test on Climate
    With less than six months before this year's UN Climate Change conference in Paris, it is clear that commitments by governments to action on climate change will fall short of that necessary to keep global warming under the internationally agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius, despite recent new pledges by the United States, Brazil, and China (http://tinyurl.com/qhtfdk9; http://tinyurl.com/q8g3srl). But, beyond national governments, there are signs of growing momentum for more rapid "transformational" action. Particularly notable is the recognition that such action must simultaneously address economic inequality and development as well as the natural environment.

June 30, 2015  South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 2
    "President Jacob Zuma's response to the Marikana Report is underwhelming, to say the least. He was allowed to avoid being forced to act in a more pointed way following what happened at Marikana because Judge Ian Farlam's recommendations are legally and socially conservative, and morally weak. The recommendations that essentially pass the buck to other state agencies to re-investigate will have left most the victims and families of victims of the killing spree in August of 2012 feeling cheated." - Greg Marinovich

June 30, 2015  South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 1
    Almost three years after the killings by police of 44 striking miners at Marikana platinum mine, the official Commission of Inquiry last week released a bland 646-page report, faulting primarily police commanders and apportioning some blame as well among the striking miners themselves, the mining company Lonmin, and two rival unions. However, the Commission said there was not adequate evidence for the responsibility of higher officials. And its recommendations for action on the police responsible were for further investigations.

June 22, 2015  Africa: AIDS Struggle Continues
    "Both globally and in Africa, there is good news. Our collective efforts to end the AIDS epidemic are paying off. Now more people living with HIV than ever before are accessing treatment, more people know their status, and AIDS-related deaths are declining. ... This progress, however, belies a dangerous reality: young African women and adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to HIV." - UNAIDS, June 2015

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

June 15, 2015  
    Eritrea: "Rule of Fear, Not Law"
June 2, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Capital Flows in Context
June 2, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Tax Justice & Inequality
May 25, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Africa, Race, and World Order
May 18, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Decarbonizing Development?
May 11, 2015  
    West Africa: Ebola Down But Not Out
May   5, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Renewables Gaining Ground
April 27, 2015  
    Burundi: On the Brink?
April 22, 2015  
    South Africa: Saying No to Xenophobia
April 14, 2015  
    Europe/Africa: Deaths at Sea
April 8, 2015  
    Garissa: Not Just Numbers
March 30, 2015  
    South Africa: Energy Futures Contested
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

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Africa News
Jul 07, 2015
AllAfrica | HIV-Aids and STDs
Africa: Global Fund Approves $17 Million for New HIV Programmes in Africa
Zimbabwe: Over 100,000 Teenagers and Young Adults HIV Positive, Poverty Blamed
Tanzania: Kili Challenge and Fight Against HIV-Aids
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