A new plan forged by the Obama administration to help end hunger in Africa relies heavily on investments from large-scale agribusiness while disregarding contributions from organic and small farmers, critics contend. President Barack Obama announced this week that it had garnered $3 billion in commitments from companies like DuPont, Monsanto and Cargill aimed at increasing food supplies to malnourished African regions.
Antipoverty advocates complained that relying on these producers was the wrong strategy. Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam said the objective of giant agribusiness “is not to fight against hunger; their objective is to make money.” Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association, warned that Obama’s belief that hunger can be alleviated through corporate investments was “misguided.” “To help the world’s two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets,” Cummins told Commons Dreams.
The stated goal of Obama’s food program is to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce the number of people worldwide living in poverty by 50 million over the next decade.
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Hedge Funds Muscle into African Agriculture (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)