Africa – the new frontier for expansion of industrial food production

Africa – the new frontier for expansion of industrial food production

Over recent years, Africa has emerged as a new frontier for the expansion of industrial agriculture. It is now THE battleground for future agricultural models, exemplified by the frightening pace of land-grabbing taking place across sub-Saharan Africa to feed global commodity markets. Since global agribusiness first turned its attention to Africa less than a decade ago, smallholder farmers are being ousted from their land so that industrial agriculture interests can move in. Initiatives like the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security & Nutrition and the World Economic Forum’s Grow Africa seem to be promoting a model of industrial agriculture that benefits big corporate agribusiness, over the needs of smallholder producers and rural communities.

These initiatives are based on public-private partnerships and are jointly funded by Northern donor governments, private capital and philanthropic money. Although promoted as solutions to Africa’s food security challenges, these public private partnerships (PPP) are predominantly focused on boosting production of grains, oils and biofuels, much of which will be destined for export. It is an investment opportunity masked as a development solution.

“To get the money for inputs, people sell their crops and animals – the very items that they spent so much time, money and energy to raise! Each year the soil becomes unhealthier, so each year the farmer tries to buy even more fertiliser and seed.”

SOURCE: WFP Malawi Manual “Low Input Food and Nutrition security: Growing and eating more with less

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