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Recolonizing Southern Africa to fuel Western Demands

As the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) continues there is a need to raise awareness about some issues affecting Agriculture in Southern Africa. Climate change affects agricultural production but one must not discount the effect of western policies funded through the United Nations.
Researchers and think tanks in the West may be staking their position for political and ideological gain while Southern African farmers and citizens are looking for solutions to satisfy the physiological and economic needs of their families. At the core of issues surrounding climate change is the issue of agricultural production in Africa and it serving the needs of the community.

In 2007 Kofi Annan as Executive Director of the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa(funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) spearheaded the idea of increasing yield through use of one of two crops, chemicals and biotechnology (genetically modified foods) which African experts had rejected earlier in 2002. Western countries and corporations are now viewing Africa as the ‘Green OPEC’ to use as a means of satisfying the need for agricultural based fuels without completely understanding the needs of the African people. In order to meet the demands of agrofuels for Western Countries, the West will have to have command of the land and production of it hence the desire to perpetuate ideas around monoculture and corporations in control of huge tracts of land. Their desire is to control at this time is to at least control 3.5 million hectares in Mozambique; Ethiopia, 1.2 million hectares.; Benin, 600,000 hectares.; Tanzania and Zambia, over 500,000 hectares.

The West desires to take African governments out of Agricultural production and to privatize the markets in Africa while farmers in the West continuously enjoy the benefits of subsidies and government services to help them to succeed. Food production is a matter of national security for every country and government has a central role to play in it to ensure adequate outputs. While governments are not always efficient they possess the structure that ensures viable access to food by every citizen particularly in agro based economies such as in Southern Africa.

Andrew Mushita and Dr. Carol Thompson

Zimbabwean Andrew Mushita,  Director of the Community Technology Development Trust Zimbabwe and Dr. Carol Thompson provide the alternative viewpoint and the African voice on issues surrounding food security. Mushita and Thompson have authored a book, “Biopiracy of Biodiversity; Global Exchange As Enclosure” which deals with how Biodiversity can be a solution to food production needs instead of the western proposed monoculture. Mushita’s work has focused on farmer rights in an Agrarian based economy. Southern Africa has experienced the emergence of cash crops used as agro fuels coupled with droughts which have further fueled food deficits. Heat waves which were once unheard of in the region are becoming common occasion.

Andrew Mushita & Dr. Carol Thompson

This book offers the best means to understand how this issue affects you and every person, present and future, who deserves to know where their food comes from, and through whose hands- Gary Nabhan Director, Center for Sustainable Environments, USA
Providing vital information to a cross-section of stakeholders, this book highlights the need for strategic policy alternatives to sustain biodiversity. I recommend it for reading by all those practitioners involved in economic development and food policy issues –Godwin Y. Mkamanga Director, SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre, Zambia
This book is a testimony of how biodiversity is integrated into the African culture of open hands exchanging seeds freely for the benefit of humanity. Although this practice is under threat, Africans continue to offer options for sharing nature’s heritage. I recommend this book to all those struggling to grasp how different cultures can co-exist and interact to advance socio-economic development that is driven by our collective needs- Melaku Worede Founding Director, National Gene-Bank, Ethiopia Because seeds are a gift to each one of us, they are a gift to all. Ancient cultures increased this wealth by sharing cultivated seed, by giving it away. Today rich countries and corporations are taking seed and making it private property. They are also destroying seed by polluting fields with genetically modified organisms. Like pirates, they loot the wealth of others. The struggle for control of biodiversity is passionate: Corporate leaders assume they can make billions; many scientists aspire to manufacturing new species; the promise of new cures tantalizes. But no scientist, no patent lawyer, or economist can depict the whole picture.
This book gives voice to those in Africa who know better and are willing to help. Share your stories of how your family is dealing with climate change and issues surrounding food production in the southern African region. Andrew Mushita and Dr. Carol Thompson are everyday heroes giving a voice to the voiceless African farmer.

By Samantha Dhlamini 2011