First Weekly News Bulletin- Organic Around the World
Intensive, corporate agriculture is increasing poverty in Africa
New research indicates that agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa are making things worse, writes Lawrence Woodward.
Backed by 'development' aid, big business is forcing modern farming practices on unwilling rural communities. Only the rich benefit, while the poor carry the burden of landlessness and debt. In fact they are having large negative impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable people in rural Africa. At the forefront of these policies has been the much vaunted New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition which is made up of governments, a range of international agencies, the Gates Foundation and other large donors, and multinational companies such as Monsanto. They have been vigorously pushing to increase and ‘modernize' agricultural production in Africa through seeds and cultivation techniques that are highly dependent on chemical inputs and 'innovative technologies', including genetic engineering.
This new research reveals that these policies are adversely impacting on the lives of tens, even hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers". It shows that only a relatively wealthy minority have benefited from what has essentially become 'enforced modernization' The poorest farmers cannot afford the risk of taking out credit for the necessary inputs of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and they live in fear of government agencies seizing and reallocating their land. The research looked in-depth at the impact of agricultural policies on Rwanda but the findings tie in with recent concerns about strategies to feed the world in the face of growing populations, debates about the effectiveness of small versus large farms and struggles to maintain local control over land and food production.
India extend Line of Credit to African nations for organic agriculture sector
India is keen to extend Line of Credit to least developed African countries for joint venture business initiatives in the agriculture sector, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said on Wednesday. While speaking at the indian-Africa Agribusiness Forum organized by the Industry body federation of India chambers of commerce and industries (Ficci), she said, “huge opportunities exist for co-operation in the agriculture sector in both India and Africa, we hope to extend our initiatives in Africa to help support food security in both our regions”.
The Secretary also identified several areas for collaboration in agri business between Indian and African countries. These include food processing, organic farming, plant tissue culture, entrepreneurship development, capacity building for which the Government of India is expected to extend lines of credit to African nations.
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