Tag Archive: World Bank

STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA

MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

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STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA
MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

African agriculture is in need of support and investment. Many initiatives are flowing from the North, including the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). These initiatives are framed in terms of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This gives them a cover of legitimacy.

But what is driving these investments, and who is set to benefit from them?

The current wave of investment emerges on the back of the gathering global crisis with financial, economic, food, energy and ecological dimensions. Africa is seen as underperforming and in control of valuable resources that capital seeks for profitable purposes. The World Bank and others tell us Africa has an abundance of available fertile land, and that Africa’s production structure is inefficient, based as it is on many small farms producing mainly for themselves and their neighbourhoodsi.

Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular. The recent investment wave must be understood

NEW SEED LEGISLATION SPELLS DISASTER FOR SMALL FARMERS IN AFRICA

Civil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders? Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society before it?s too late.

According to the groups, the Protocol is inflexible, restrictive and imposes a ?one-size-fits-all? plant variety protection (PVP) system on all SADC countries irrespective of the nature of agricultural systems, social and economic development. It is modeled after the 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991), an instrument which was developed by industrialized countries to address their own needs. UPOV 1991 grants extremely strong intellectual property right protection to plant breeders, and disallows farmers from continuing their customary practices of freely using, exchanging and selling farm-saved seeds.

According to Moses Shaha, regional chairman for the East and Southern African small-scale Farmers? Forum (ESAFF): ?The proposed legislation gives big-business breeders significant rights,

DISPLACING AFRICA’S INDIGENOUS FOOD: Monsanto & AATF’s GM Cowpea Project

Nairobi based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and Monsanto are set to introduce genetically engineered cowpeas in the coming years into the fields and tables of Africa. It will use Nigeria and Burkina Faso as key entry points, with Ghana, Cameroon, Niger and Mali comprising the second tier of countries that will be targeted. The project is assisted by Nigeria- based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), one of the 15 agricultural research institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR is funded primarily by the World Bank, the USA, Japan, the European Union and Canada. Indeed, the IITA has the mandate for cowpea research and is in the forefront of breeding high yielding varieties by using a range of genetic manipulation techniques to deal with biological constraints affecting crop yields and quality.

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Groups in Latin America and Africa call for rejection of World Bank GEF biosafety projects

Two World Bank projects, with funding from the GEF (Global Environmental Facility), propose to introduce genetically modified crops such as maize, potatoes, cassava, rice and cotton into African and Latin American countries that are centres of origin or diversity for these and other major food crops. Civil society organisations warn that DNA contamination from genetically modified crops poses an unacceptable risk to staple crops that are the basis of peasant economies in these regions.

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