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Food & agriculture - Dec 1


Sahel Africans Face Hunger Despite Bumper Harvest

Reuters
Poor people in Africa's arid Sahel region will go without food despite bumper harvests this year, as wild price moves on world markets put staple cereals beyond many families' budgets, aid agencies say. Prices of imported foods have ballooned in recent years, pushing up prices for locally grown crops even though harvests are expected to be bigger than ever after abundant rains.

"The nature of food insecurity has changed in West Africa," Alexander Woollcombe, Food Security Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam GB told Reuters. "It's not a problem of production. The problem is, poor people can't afford to buy it."...
(28 November 2008)


food production or distribution...

Aaron Newton, Powering Down
...which are we talking about changing?

If you’re new to the hot topic of food and farming and how our agricultural system works and you're spending any time at all catching up you’re bound to run across lots of occasions of food industry giants talking about hunger and what it will take to end it. In fact if most of your information comes from such sources, including much of the mainstream press on the topic, you’re likely to end up thinking that what we really need in order to feed the nearly 1 billion people who don’t have enough food to eat is a change in the way we produce food. We need the seeds of genetically modified plants available to more farmers so they can increase yields. We need new pesticides to help harvest more food. We need to be able to clone animals for more meat. We need to make synthetic fertilizers available to those in the developing world with larger percentages of their populations going hungry. As far as the international agribusiness corporations think we just need another green revolution to help us grow more food and that only these types of changes in production will feed more people. By the way this is totally false.

If instead you’ve done your homework when it comes to hunger issues- maybe you’ve read World Hunger 12 Myths by Frances Moore Lappe’ et al- you know that here on Earth we already grow enough food to feed everyone more than twice what they need, we just don’t distribute it well. But because so many of us are in the former category- people who are largely divorced from food issues besides going to the grocery store and eating fast food- this probably comes as a shock to many of you reading this...
(12 November 2008)
Aaron Newton is co-author of a forthcoming book, A Nation of Farmers, with Sharon Astyk. KS


In a land of plenty, why do they still go hungry?

David Smith, The Observer

Tuesday is market day in Katine. Sprawling off a dirt track are a series of mud-brick structures with thatched roofs held aloft by tree branches. Agnes Amwola walked for four hours to sell cassava here. Philipe Ochan is watching his cows graze in the heat. Joseph Eyapu is bringing down his cleaver to separate sheep, goat and bull meat from bone.

But few people are buying. Piles of beans, black mudfish, cassava, cauliflowers, grain, groundnuts, guava, millet, oranges, pineapples, potatoes, sorghum, tomatoes, smoked eels and tilapia bake slowly in the morning sun. As smoke rises from charcoal fires, people look at the produce as if through the window of a shop they can never enter...
(November 30, 2008)

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