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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

June 30, 2016  Africa/Global: Air Pollution Threats & Solutions
    "Around 6.5 million deaths are attributed each year to poor air quality, making this the world’s fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Without changes to the way that the world produces and uses energy, the ruinous toll from air pollution on human life is set to rise. ... Household air pollution, closely linked to a lack of access to modern energy services, causes around half a million premature deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa, where four-fifths of the population rely on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, and candles and kerosene lamps are extensively used for indoor lighting." - International Energy Agency (IEA)

June 22, 2016  Africa/Global: "Stop the Bleeding" Updates
    "A new report by Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid says that East African countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) are losing approximately $2 billion a year of revenue each year by granting tax incentives to multinational companies. ... According to Yaekob Metena, ActionAid Tanzania's country director, 'Though there have been improvements in recent years in addressing the issue, governments in East Africa continue to give away domestic resources in tax incentives, funds that could pay for the regions' education and health needs and meeting the development objectives.'"

June 13, 2016  Africa/Global: Don't Be a Fossil Fool
    From solar TVs in rural Kenya to modular concrete for windmills in Iowa, the pace of technological advance continues to accelerate, making renewable fuels more and more competitive with fossil fuels. Technology alone will not be sufficient, of course. But these trends, combined with worldwide climate activism and increasing awareness among the public and government policy-makers, are leading even establishment analysts to conclude that, in the words of the Financial Times, "fossil fuel producers face a future of slow and steady decline."

Jun 2, 2016  Liberia/Global: Financial Secrecy at Work
    "Finance Uncovered, working with an anonymous Liberian journalist, has exposed a little-known offshore business registry that has created tens of thousands of anonymous companies and registered them to a non-existent address in Monrovia, Liberia's capital city. Although these companies are technically a creation of Liberian law, management of the registry is based in the United States and appears to have the support of the US government. ... Our investigation has discovered over half a billion pounds of high-value London property registered to Liberian offshore companies."

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

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
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

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Jul 01, 2016
AllAfrica | Conflict, Peace and Security
Nigeria: Children in Northeast Face Death Unless Aid Arrives Soon - UN
Kenya: Six Killed in Al-Shabaab Attack in Elwak
South Africa: Cape Town Refugee Office May Stay Closed
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