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
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
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
September 21, 2016 USA/Africa: From #BlackLivesMatter to #StopTheBleeding Africa
The direct and indirect toll resulting from illicit financial flows
reflects the unequal value today's world places on human lives by
race and place ... Reflecting the legacy of the slave trade and
colonialism, the African continent and Black people around the world
are disproportionately located at the bottom of a global system that
systematically sucks wealth upward, toward the top "1 percent." ...
there can be no doubt that the number of deaths caused by these
structural economic inequalities rivals or likely even exceeds those
lost due to bombs, guns, or machetes.
September 14, 2016 Gabon: High Demand for Democracy, Short Supply
"Among 36 African countries surveyed in 2014/2015, Gabon ranks at or
near the bottom on every indicator of election quality and fairness,
according to citizen responses collected in September and October 2015.
... Gabon ranks dead last in public trust in the election commission.
... [at the same time] Gabon ranks near the top in favoring multiparty
competition and term limits on presidents, as well as in disapproving of one-party and one-man
rule." - Afrobarometer
September 7, 2016 South Africa: From #FeesMustFall to Budget Battles
"The most inspiring and surprising social movement to shake the
South African state since the Treatment Action Campaign of the early
2000s was #FeesMustFall in October 2015. The primary demand -- free
tertiary education -- is audacious." But, argues South Africa
academic and commentator Patrick Bond in a newly published chapter,
achieving that goal requires confronting the ideology of austerity
and the dominance of corporate capital as well as corrupt public
officials on the South African government budget.
September 7, 2016 South Africa: Post "Post-Apartheid"?
The "post-apartheid" period is now over, it seems. Whether one dates
the change from the massacre of miners at Marikana in 2012, the
death of Nelson Mandela in 2013, student protests in 2015, or the
municipal elections last month, a generation has now passed since the high hopes of the first
democratic elections in 1994. South Africans, particularly the
generation known as the "born-frees," are coping with the realization
that that political victory was only the beginning, not the
achievement of the hopes for social and economic transformation so
many had hoped and died for.
by date | by place | by topic
July 26, 2016
Africa/Global: Not Yet "End of AIDS"
July 15, 2016
July 15, 2016
July 6, 2016
Cuba/Sierra Leone: Reclaiming Slave-Trade History
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?