It is the final day of the G8 meeting in L’Aquila Italy. The issue for discussion as I understand it is help for African farmers and reduction in Food AID to Africa and the overall aim is bring about food security and reduce poverty.
I am encouraged by proposals to increase grain storage, irrigation projects, availability of seeds and fertilisers as way forward to reducing world hunger and extreme poverty. This is all great stuff, but I can’t help but wonder how it will work out in practice
We know about farmer’s subsidies here in Europe and the US and we also know that there is an over production of food most of which ends up as FOOD AID in Africa.
We agree that in emergency situations this is necessary. What is questionable is whether this food actually gets to those that need it. You will recall the case of the Canadian Peas?
In addition Food Aid/dumping as it is called in some circles kills local industry remember the case of the Zambian farmer?
W e also know that some parts of Africa have too much food whilst others don’t. Do we know how we can get this food from parts of Africa that actually need this food?
What about the extreme weather conditions, floods, lack of rain leading to poor soil condition etc not to mention diseases that affect the plants such as the banana and coffee wilt in sub-Saharan Africa? How do we tackle climate change? One thing for sure those in the developing world appear to be the worst hit by extreme weather conditions leading to disease, loss of shelter, food security amongst other things.
These are all big issues that will require the commitment of all stakeholders in order to effect change.
My wish list,
• I would like to see initiatives that work directly with individuals on the ground
• I would like to see more skills sharing with people in the developing world, they understand their environment much more than we will ever do
• I would like to see a system that enables African farmers to sell their food to other African countries that can’t grow enough. This might be achieved through increased food storage facilities as well as grain storage
• I would like to see a reduction in Food Aid from Developed countries as I believe that food could be provided from parts of Africa that have too much food. That would give those countries the incentive to grow more food, create jobs etc
Your thoughts please?