Wednesday, February 19, 2014

For Sale - Africa

The Rich look for business opportunities in poor countries. Investors have increasingly targeted African farmland since the 2008 food, fuel and financial crises.

Doug Hertzler, a senior policy analyst at ActionAid USA, warned that the New Alliance project "Is all about creating markets for the chemical and the seed companies that are owned by the international companies rather than public services, which is the best way for smallholders to grow and expand," he said, adding that big changes in access to land, with more going to commercial firms, could create "unequal land tenure patterns which will last for generations".

Zitto Kabwe, the chairman of the Tanzanian parliament's public accounts committee, says "With large-scale farming, you are turning small farmers into mere labourers.” Outgrower schemes, under which companies buy produce from small farmers, are not enough on their own, Kabwe said. "Who determines the contracts? The fear is at the end of the day you have small-scale farmers being exploited. To prevent that you need strong local organisations for farmers and led by farmers."

A Food Sovereignty spokesman said. "Ghana's current pattern of agricultural investment and growth is clearly not succeeding in addressing food and nutrition insecurity … The New Alliance document manifestly emphasises private investment, but there is little corporate profit to be made in the type of agriculture that can address these issues."

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