Empowerment of agribusiness giants rather than small farmers

Photo credit: Belfast Telegraph

New evidence suggests that organic practices are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa’s small farmers

Africa – Privatizing Land and Seeds

AfricaFocus (Washington, DC)


“The G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was launched in 2012 by the eight most industrialised countries to mobilise private capital for investment in African agriculture. To be accepted into the programme, African governments are required to make important changes to their land and seed policies. … [for example] Despite the fact that more than 80% of all seed in Africa is still produced and disseminated through ‘informal’ seed systems (on-farm seed saving and unregulated distribution between farmers), there is no recognition in the New Alliance programme of the importance of farmer-based systems of saving, sharing, exchanging and selling seeds.” – Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and GRAIN, January 2015

Countless reports by global and African agencies highlight the critical role for agriculture in African development. Almost all agree that small farmers are key to addressing poverty and food insecurity. But many policies, such as those described in this new report from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and GRAIN, lead in practice to empowerment of agribusiness giants rather than small farmers. By imposing legal frameworks based on Western industrial agriculture, powerful interests make a mockery of international pledges to help small farmers.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the report “Land and Seed Laws under Attack: Who is pushing changes in Africa?” (full report available at http://tinyurl.com/m5g8zje)

For summary talking points and previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on food and agriculture issues, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-ag.php

Read the full article: allAfrica

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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