Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hope for African Food Security?

Here's what Kofi Annan said yesterday in a News Hour interview about the global food crisis as it is being addressed in Africa:

And the idea is to work with other stakeholders to ensure that the African farmer gets the right seeds, seeds that are high-yield and pest-resistant, and ensure that the African soil, which is the most depleted, is improved, working with the African farmers, making fertilizers available to them, the right type of fertilizers, and working with them on the quantities they should use, on water management, on storage, and marketing, so all along the value chain.

Reading between the lines here, I am wondering:

- is he well intentioned about developing sustainable food security in African nations?

- or is he letting us know that this will be an opportunity for vertically integrated global corporations to screw up African agriculture - so it's not dependent on food aid, but is in perennial debt to Monsanto and ADM (one of the news hour sponsors).

This page describing various iniatives of the organization Annan is heading
looks good - but I am not sure I am sophisticated enough in my knowledge to read between the lines.

On the bright side, in his News Hour interview Annan did address the problem of agricultural subsidies in rich nations. The interviewer, however, did not lead him into a deeper exploration of this question. Of course, not - the subsidies don't benefit farmers in the US for the most part; they benefit Monsanto and ADM.

The whole interview transcript is here:

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