AFRICA FUTURE & OUR MISSION:
Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization into Africa for more productive agriculture for a Brighter Future in Africa.
In contrast with Asia, which has seen huge increases in agricultural yields in the last 40 years, sub-Saharan Africa’s track record has been abysmal. Food production is actually 10% lower today than in 1960, yet over this time period the aggregate world food production has increased by 145%.
Climate change could push prices up by 130%. Rice tripled in price over a period of four months, wheat doubled and corn rose 46 per cent. This world food crisis of high grain import prices, on top of high fuel prices, has placed an acute economic squeeze on consumers in developing countries.
People move in search of better opportunities elsewhere and jobs!! The high rate of urban migration in Africa, particularly among young people, is largely because the rural economy – which is predominantly agrarian – has been stagnant. These young people are not fleeing from farming as an occupation. They are fleeing from poverty!!
AGRICULTURAL GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Agriculture can deliver 2-3 times the return on investment, in terms of improved economic well-being, as other sectors: it represents 32% of Africa’s GDP; and employs 65% of the working population. Most importantly, it is the sector where the poorest on the continent are most likely to be engaged in their struggle to survive. Some African countries’ improved economic performance over the last 10 to 15 years indicates that they do have the potential to become net exporters of food. If we transform the agriculture sector, we will transform the African continent!
The best part of two decades there has been a consensus on aid in Africa – namely that the state should not subsidize smallholder agriculture. Nearly 30 percent of World Bank lending once went to agricultural modernization, but now it is just 8 percent. China’s dramatic reduction of poverty has been achieved by growth primarily in the agricultural sector, not the industrial. Since the late 1970s, improvements in technology and infrastructure helped boost production in smallholder agriculture, with farmers’ incomes rising at more than 7% a year. The result is that 200 million small-scale farmers working an average of 0.6 hectare of land are now feeding a population of 1.3 billion.
The Maputo declaration of 2003 pledged African countries to 10% of government spending for agriculture. This took place at a conference of African Ministers for Agriculture, chaired a meeting at FAO headquarters. Thirteen years later, many African countries have not even reached 4%.
Malawi’s defied these teachings and put in place a series of policy measures that increased agricultural development and overall economic development at the cost of 16% of government spending.
During one of the biggest challenges is the issue of land tenure. It is difficult to negotiate adequate secure tenure and get permission from all of the relevant authorities. Living Water Microfinance Inc. has been focusing its efforts, especially for women, who generally are not allowed to own land.
The Gene Revolution: Africa Future
The Green Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s is now being overtaken by “the Gene Revolution” — the development and spread of GM crops across the world. The uptake of genetically modified (GM) crops is the fastest adoption rate of any crop technology, increasing from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 148 million hectares in 2010. The USDA says 94% of soy and 75% of all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
African countries such as South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt have adopted GM crops. Other countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are preparing to start field trials. Farming giants like China, Brazil and India have embraced biotech crops. And even the European Commission (EC) is acknowledging that existing GM crops do not carry any unique risks. In a recent study, the EC has found that GM crops are at least as safe for consumers and the environment as conventionally bred plant varieties, and sometimes safer. It also concluded that GM crops could help developing countries meet their food needs while addressing the challenges of climate change in a sustainable way.
Africa is steadily joining the biotechnology revolution. South Africa’s GM crop production stood at 2.0 million hectares (4.94 million acres) in 2010.
Anti-GMO activists are still engaged in stopping this GM effort. The European Parliament voted that calls on the G7 countries not to support the use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds in Africa, despite the dangers of food security and poverty levels on the continent.
As reported in a New York Times article, the ridiculously high prices of seeds and pesticides are causing farmers to make less money than ever. Additionally, as pests and weeds become increasingly immune to insecticides, farmers have to spend more and more money on chemicals. And let’s not forget, they are also legally required to buy new seeds every season unless they want to be sued or forced to burn all their plants.
Currently, just three mega companies control over half of the global seed market, which has caused prices to skyrocket. For example, the average price of planting an acre of soybeans has gone up 325 percent since 1995.
So, If GMOs Aren’t the Answer…
Continue reading AFRICA: Future World Food Basket 2