Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hunger and Proverty Worldwide

Control, initiative, education.  What is the answer?  The G8 met this week at Camp David.  What is the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition?  See the following comments on this disturbing turn of events.  Exactly where are we headed with giant corporations taking control of our food choices?

Monsanto's Commitment

"Plans include improved access to financial services through a partnership with Opportunity International, continued work with Tanzanian scientists through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project to introduce new maize hybrids suitable for Tanzania and available royalty free to seed companies, support of a new depot in the agricultural corridor and strengthening of agro-dealer networks to provide more choice to farmers, support of a new initiative led by the Earth Institute of Columbia University focused on soil health to encourage best management practices, and creation of opportunities that provide farmers with improved access to markets.
"Monsanto will also partner with additional organizations on the ground in Tanzania, including Farm Input Promotion Services on farmer education programs and Muunganisho Ujasiriamali Vijijini (MUVI) on the formation of farmer cooperatives that enable farmers to collectively negotiate and market their harvest."[13]


Jill Richardson wrote that "The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality."[14] She went on to tell stories of African peasant farmers who made more money by switching to organic farming than by using synthetic fertilizer.
Eric Holt Gimenez of Food First also criticized the New Alliance in an article titled "Nothing New About Ignoring Africa's Farmers."[15] He wrote:
"There's a good reason why the 45 members of the New Alliance don't want to hear from the people actually growing the food in Africa... farmers would say that Africa is actually a rich continent and it is the continued extraction of wealth by foreign corporations that causes poverty and hunger -- that the first Green Revolution did not "bypass" Africa; it failed. A new one spearheaded by the same institutions presently spreading GMOs and land grabbing throughout the continent will do more harm than good."
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy was even more harsh, calling the New Alliance a "sad excuse of an aid program."[16] They wrote:
"How bad is this idea? Money is money, right? Wrong! The private sector is not just like government, only a little different. It is ENTIRELY different. Corporations are accountable to their shareholders, obliged to make a profit. They are not charities. They are bound by law, but not by the public interest... Corporations are not parties to the human rights covenants that oblige most governments to realize the universal human right to food."
Oxfam International was also critical the new effort with a release titled "G8 Food Security Alliance Answers Question Hungry People Have Not Asked."[17] They say that the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition "focuses too heavily on the role of the private sector to tackle the complex challenges of food insecurity in the developing world." Instead, they called on G8 leaders to "keep the promises they have already made to help developing countries invest in sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty." They add that "While there is a positive role for the private sector in the fight against global hunger, the plan's top down approach does not reflect what many people in poor countries say they want or need" and that this new effort is "passing the buck on global hunger."

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