Thursday, February 26, 2009

Great deals

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said today it is awarding $48-million to help poor cocoa and cashew farmers in Africa improve the quality of their crops and increase the opportunities to sell their product on the global market.

A dozen or so major agriculture and food companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Kraft, and Starbucks, will contribute cash, products, and technical assistance, valued at a total of $42-million.

The foundation is giving $23-million to the World Cocoa Foundation, in Washington, and $25-million for the cashew project to a German development agency, known as GTZ, which is based in Eschborn.

“When you think about $1-a-day poverty, the bulk of the extreme poor people in the world — 70-plus percent — live in rural areas and are dependent on farms for food and income,” Rajiv Shah, Gates’s director of agricultural programs, said in an interview. “The goal is to help improve their production and sell their crops at an increased value so they can earn higher incomes and over time send their kids to school and pull themselves out of poverty.”" (Thanks D.)

Translate: Donations in kind from mega companies already controlling the food system. Small farmers produce export crops at the expense of their own food production. Small farmers sell raw commodities (cocoa) and eat imported processed food. Guess who wins the added value both ways.

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