Monday, September 22, 2008

failed solutions on offer once aagain

Daniel Howden is The Independent's Africa correspondent writes
Up to 14 million people in the Horn of Africa are at risk of starvation and the root of the problem in almost every case is political, not scientific. For agriculture in Africa, the real problems stem from a global trade system that favours richer countries and large corporations, chronic under-investment by corrupt governments, and the gross distortion of food prices caused in large part by the explosion of biofuels. Trade inequality has seen rich countries dumping subsidised food on to African markets, while erecting barriers themselves. Now prime African farmland is being switched from food to fuel – on the most food-insecure continent on the planet.

Making matters worse is the prospect of African governments selling off prime farmland to wealthy countries such as Saudi Arabia, creating the horrifying prospect of fortified farms exporting food from starving countries. The agribusiness giants who have developed and patented genetically modified crops have long argued that their mission is to feed the world, rarely missing an opportunity to mention starving Africans.
Their mission is, in fact, to make a profit.

Unfortunately , he mars this insightful article by repeating those well worn platitudes of fair trade and fair markets and ethical investment . Capitalism exists to make a profit and it is capitalism that requires to be abolished . Smoothing the rough corners of such a system in the hope for eventual benefit to the poor is the utopian dream of reformers .

The Government's former chief scientific adviser Sir David King counters that it is science and not politics that will become Africa's salvation . He argues that advanced approaches to agriculture, such as GM crops, are the only way Africa will be able to feed itself.
"The position taken by non-governmental organisations and international organisations is to support traditional agricultural technologies. These technologies will not deliver the food for the burgeoning population of Africa," he said. "Suffering within that continent is largely driven by attitudes in the West which are anti-science and anti-technology. We have the technology to feed the population of the planet..." Sir David said. "It is astonishing that we are better able to land a spacecraft on Mars than deal with millions of deaths each year from HIV-Aids and malaria, and poor nutrition; or develop renewable CO2-free energy sources,"

Indeed , science and technology has furnished the means and methods to satisfy the needs and wants of the people of the world , but that has been the situation for many decades now . However , it is the essence of the capitalism to obtain a profit that has meant all these technical scientific applications have not been employed to end poverty and starvation . A political and economic revolution is required , possessing the tools to do it is not suffice .

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