Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kofi to save Africa

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) on Monday pledged to increase agricultural productivity of the continent's small farmers and lift tens of millions of people out of extreme poverty in the near future.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, AGRA chairman Kofi Annan said the organization has invested $150 million to support the development of new seed systems better equipped to cope with the harsh African climate. ‘Africa is the only region where overall food security and livelihoods are deteriorating. We will reverse this trend by working to create an environmentally sustainable, uniquely African Green Revolution. When our poorest farmers finally prosper, all of Africa will benefit,’ Annan told journalists in Nairobi.

Reuters reports that “… Annan said the Nairobi-based group hoped to replicate farm changes that boosted agricultural productivity in countries like India in the 1970s. … He said the group would focus on helping Africa's millions of small-scale farmers fight poverty and boost productivity by providing stronger and more resistant seed varieties, and improving access to farm inputs and markets. …” [Reuters/Factiva]

Where it will get really funny is when he will start asking for an end to market distorting Western agricultural subsidies. The Green revolution in India was highly controversial Mr. Annan. Small farmers have been made poorer, seeds have been stolen and patented by corporations, people have become slave labourers on their own lands, water resources have been exhausted and fertilizers and pesticides have polluted soil and water. The list is endless, all in the name of productivity while in reality it is in the name of cheaper food to compete with subsidized Western foods on the global market.

Just when we thought the world had become safe from this corrupt politician, he emerges to destroy what is left of Africa. Why didn't he get so excited about african agriculture when he was UN secretary general and had all of the FAO and UNDP under his command? Could it be because it was not on his US-compiled to-do list?

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