Africa is hungry – 240 million people are undernourished.
“Africa has enormous quantities of land and resources…and now there is a stampede to lock those up.”
By Stephen Leahy
NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 16, 2010 (IPS)
Africa is hungry – 240 million people are undernourished. Now, for the first-time, small African farmers have been properly consulted on how to solve the problem of feeding sub-Saharan Africa. Their answers appear to directly repudiate a massive international effort to launch an African Green Revolution funded in large part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Instead of new hybrid seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, family farmers in West Africa said they want to use local seeds, avoid spending precious cash on chemicals and most importantly to direct public agricultural research to meet their needs, according to a multi-media publication released on World Food Day (Oct. 16).
“There is a clear vision from these small farmers. They are rejecting the approach of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa,” said report co-author Michel Pimbert of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a non-profit research institute based in London.
“These were true farmer-led assessment where small farmers and other food producers listened and questioned agricultural and other experts and then came up with their own recommendations,” Pimbert told IPS.
“Food and agriculture policy and research tend to ignore the values, needs, knowledge and concerns of the very people who provide the food we all eat — and often serve instead powerful commercial interests such as multinational seed and food retailing companies,” he said.