Friday, August 21, 2020

Hunger in Africa

Our companion blog Socialist Banner which concentrates on Africa recently had a post that highlighted a report that was highly critical of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) and its development approach which is well worth a read.

The Common Dreams website also has an article criticising AGRA. 

This too is is worth quoting from. 

"It’s been nearly fifty years since Frances Moore LappĂ© reminded us in her seminal work, “Diet for a Small Planet,” that hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food, it is caused by a scarcity of power. Economist Amartya Sen won a Nobel Prize more than twenty years ago for showing that famine was rarely caused by a lack of food..."

 "...The report, “False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa,” which showed AGRA to be a billion-dollar initiative that is reducing crop diversity in the name of calorie production. But that production is not reducing hunger. It has contributed to a 31% increase in the number of undernourished people in its 13 target countries. And Rwanda, oft-cited as an AGRA success story during Kalibata’s term as agriculture minister, showed a 41% increase in the number of undernourished people since AGRA began in 2006, according to the latest U.N. figures...."

"...maize may have lifted Rwanda’s per capita calorie production above FAO minimums, but it sure didn’t solve hunger, which, as always, is still a problem of distribution and consumption. According to new FAO data released July 13, the number of undernourished Rwandans has increased 41% since 2006. The share of Rwandans living in extreme poverty has barely declined, from 63% to 60%...."

"...In its 13 focus countries, AGRA has spent one billion dollars, supplemented by up to one billion dollars per year in African government subsidies for its Green Revolution seeds and fertilizers. Yet in 12 years AGRA shows tepid productivity growth, even for maize, its most favored crop. Production of millet has declined 24% with falling yields. We calculated that for a basket of staple crops, yields had grown just 18% over 12 years, nothing resembling AGRA’s promised doubling of productivity by 2020. Meanwhile, the number of undernourished people in AGRA countries rose 31%..."

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