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15 June, 2015

Making Money Exporting Disaster



(Written on June 4th...)  As the G7 leaders prepare to meet in Bavaria this weekend, small-scale farmers from around the world call on them to abandon their disastrous plan for the corporate takeover of global agriculture and the extirpation of small-scale farmers everywhere - those who produce most of the world's food. True food security must be rooted in local control over land, seeds and water.  (http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2896088/g7_be_warned_your_new_alliance_threatens_to_destroy_smallscale_farmers.html)



On a regular basis, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations issues reports on the production of food. Over and over, decade after decade, their findings report that small farms (mostly the work of women), hour for hour, acre for acre, produce more food (and less waste) than the massive farms of the first world. And even with this repeated confirmation, the governments of the Northern Hemisphere, aka the G7, insist on exporting their failed food production to third world countries.

Exactly the opposite of abundance, the G7's initiative
imposes a death sentence on farming in Africa.

It's all of scheme and the G7 either are in cahoots with the corporations (and getting a healthy bank account out of it) or are just flat out stupid. In either case, they are going to be culpable in the famines of the future and perhaps the deaths of millions of folks. And these folks don't get to vote on any of this.

Yet, even though they be among the most impoverished people on the planet, they will pay the price for the arrogance of those who have plenty to eat. No famine will come to knock at the door of Monsanto and other participants in America's Big Ag, or the Big Ag of Europe and the rest of them. Trying to export our model – and make profit when we get to sell seeds, fertilizers and other necessities for farming American style, when such farming is the worst farming you can have. We will not starve not because our farming is so damn good but because we have fertile soils (that are quickly becoming marginalized).

If yield is your only consideration, we do good especially if you only produce two or three different kinds of crops. But that is such a small criteria. Farming American style destroys the soil and the only reason it is still around today is because of those incredible soils and the ability we've had to move water around – but that's coming to an end soon. It is only a matter of time before that incredible topsoil of Iowa and there bouts is washed down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to cover the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

And our use of poisons in our agriculture is truly appalling and will end badly for farmers and consumers alike. There is only so much poison, regardless of which poison the science du jour is selling, you can pour on food before you have destroyed the food. Our wonderfully full grocery stores are primarily illusion that can only deceive a person for so long. All built on corn and soybeans.

The truth is our way of eating and growing what we eat rests on a razor thin margin. And the disrespect shown to our agricultural roots and history is born of the same hubris of the G7 leaders casually condemning the lifestyles of millions of people to the dustbin of history when those poor people have the only PROVEN agricultural system on the planet. It's all backwards. If you're counting on the meals of the rest of your life from the current system, I hope your older than I am and not thinking about being around in twenty years or so. This 'thing' we live with that we call our food system is not robust and not capable of handling a one-two punch from nature – and, as we see by the headlines, nature has plenty of one-two punches to give.

The Great Valley in California is salting up and doesn't have enough water to continue its current production for much longer. The soils of the mid-West are in trouble as noted above. The amounts of pesticides we put on our crops (and their increasing toxicity) will have to come to an end sooner rather than later.  Petroleum, upon which the whole thing is built, is becoming prohibitively expensive.  And then there is Global Climate Change which makes growing ANYTHING a much dicier proposition, no matter what the Senator with a snowball says or what  you believe.  You don't have to believe in gravity, but you'll still only fall DOWN.

It doesn't take even a fool more than a precursory evaluation to realize that the Ethiopian Famine in the late 1900's was caused by this very kind of meddling in the first place. If we had left the Ethiopians alone to begin with and not insisted they plant our more 'modern' wheat and other grains that required more water, ditching their more drought resistant local varieties, the drought, though bad, would not have been the wretched experience it became

Now the G7 has the rest of Africa in its sights for the same exact kind of consolidating destruction that will profit the G7 and leave Africans at the mercy of so-called aid, which is nothing more than MORE of the meddling that precipitated the famine in the first place! We, the people of the G7, are accomplices in this disaster.

The only way to true plenitude is local control of local seeds, local soil and local water. This power grab from the G7 is all of that backwards. It's an outrage and a death sentence for too many people who do not get a vote about their fate.

We, social movements, grassroots organizations and civil society organizations engaged in the defense of food sovereignty and the right to food in Africa, met at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015 to unite those opposing the G8 'New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition'.
Social movements and organizations from Africa shared their experiences and analysis about the impacts of the New Alliance in their countries and participants from all over the world agreed to support their struggles against this threat to food sovereignty and agro-ecology.
As such, we joined the Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles and adopted its Declaration. This statement reflects our discussions and our demands to governments engaged in the New Alliance and expresses support for the call on the G7 Presidency made by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa.
To endorse this statement, please write to Gino Brunswijck: nafsn@aefjn.be

david  

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