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Don’t Put Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

Don’t Put Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

 

Written by Yifat Susskind

This past weekend, President Obama hid out from protesters at Camp David. He was hosting the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest economies, known as the G8. As they readied to meet, on Friday, Obama put forward his New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

This occasion gave Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, the chance to make an astonishing statement:

“We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.”

That’s news to millions of women farmers in Africa. Their harvests feed their families and generate income that sustains local economies. For generations, they have been doing just those things: storing their harvests, protecting and developing seeds, using natural fertilizers.

Smallholder women farmers save and exchange seeds that help keep local crops viable. They demonstrate how to adapt to climate change by adjusting planting cycles, experimenting with new drought-resistant crops and more. They produce crucial food supplies using the small-scale, organic methods that are increasingly recognized as vital to the health of the planet—and everyone who lives on it.

There are differences, of course. Unlike big companies, small-scale women farmers do not grab millions of acres of land for monoculture plantations that destroy local biodiversity. They do not develop the terminator seeds that hold farmers hostage to the seed patent rights of corporations. They are not the inventors of chemical fertilizers that worsen climate change.

Those honors belong to the very companies that President Obama is inviting to oversee Africa’s food security. We know that their primary goal is not anybody’s food security but their own bottom line. That’s why it’s governments, and not corporations like Monsanto, that should bear responsibility for funding and developing agriculture. It is simply not true that only companies can build silos and develop seeds and fertilizers.

President Obama anticipated these criticisms when he addressed “whether this New Alliance is just a way for governments to shift the burden onto somebody else.” He was quick to assure that, even in hard economic times, his administration would continue to make investments in development aid. Let’s make sure that those investments work to prioritize the right to food over corporate profits.

Because here’s the truth: we’re never going to end hunger in Africa without upholding the rights of smallholder women farmers who feed the continent and care for its ecosystems.

This post was originally published by Common Dreams.

 

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Photo from CIMMYT via flickr

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76 comments

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7:04AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

In my opinion,Monsanto and other giant corporate vested interests which now run the world,are well aware that soemthing has to be done about the unsustainable,burgeoning world population.What better way than,under the guise of "generous gifts of food aid to feed the starving",slip into Africa "food"that really isn't very healthy and is likely to give the masses a raft of health problems,both chronic (profits for drug companies)and terminal (cut the population)?!Factor in vaccination programs with the potential to contain contraceptives or additives which sterilise or cause miscarriages,plus also the potential to kill sickly,malnourished and starving babies and children,due to the shock to their fledgling immune systems-are you getting the picture?I honestly believe that this is the agenda!

11:23AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Monsanto in charge of food in Africa is like Halibuton reaping $$$billuions in profit in Iraq and Afganistan to bring the Taliban under control, and Blackwater bringing social Justice to the middleEast. If the GOP is elected with the Kochroach $$$capital, not only Africa, we'll all be eating Monsanto GM vegetables and fruit right here in good ole USA.

11:23AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Monsanto in charge of food in Africa is like Halibuton reaping $$$billuions in profit in Iraq and Afganistan to bring the Taliban under control, and Blackwater bringing social Justice to the middleEast. If the GOP is elected with the Kochroach $$$capital, not only Africa, we'll all be eating Monsanto GM vegetables and fruit right here in good ole USA.

5:56PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Monsanto is the evil company that only allows their "modified seeds" to be planted on the vast majority of farms in the U.S. By any means, get them out of everything having to do with food and Africa!

2:41PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Talk about destruction of local economies--putting Monsanto in charge? Like setting the fox to guard the henhouse?

11:25AM PDT on May 26, 2012

Monsanto ...Vote the members out of Congress who support this company .. money talks

5:26PM PDT on May 25, 2012

It is my understanding that Monsanto's genetically modified seeds failed in teh drought conditions in Africa. Placing Monsanto in charge of ending hunger in Africa will lead to only one result. A lot of hungry and/or starving people in Africa.

4:57AM PDT on May 25, 2012

Just great, Monsanto now has the chance to destroy the farmer over in Africa. Damned greedy company.

12:05PM PDT on May 24, 2012

By all means put Monsanto in charge.

While you're at it, I do believe that foxes make very good guards for hen houses.

3:41AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Ban Monsanto worldwide!!!

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