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Arabica Robusta

Africans Face Competing Visions of Agricultural Development at a Critical Juncture | Fo... - 4 views

  • While it is not surprising that the IFIs mediate the global economy, often brutally, in favor of the OECD countries-the flip side would be to engage in development activities as if these global imbalances did not exist. This seems to be the Earth Institute's perspective. Their website describes their program as bringing the benefits of scientific expertise of "850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, staff and students working in and across more than 30 Columbia University research centers" to solve "real world problems." The Earth Institute believes "finding solutions to one problem, such as extreme poverty, must involve tackling other related challenges, such as environmental degradation and lack of access to health care and education."
    • Arabica Robusta
       
      Good critique of the Earth Institute: "engage in development activities as if ... global imbalances did not exist."
  • The IFIs' fixation on macroeconomic indicators leads to the misguided belief that bumping up countries' GDPs will help poor Africans by way of some mythological trickle-down effect that has yet to materialize. This metric has led, among other things, to an inexorable push in Africa for large scale industrial agriculture for export markets, while leaving the peasant farmers who produce most of the food consumed by Africans out of the equation. The aid regime has thus done more to open Africa's agricultural resources for exploitation than to mitigate the roots of poverty and hunger in Africa.
  • It is not difficult to succeed when one has a lot of money and one defines success as eradicating poverty in individual villages.
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • The villagers in Sauri are understandably happy with the results, but off the record they have criticized the non-inclusiveness of the top-down approach.[i] UN officials and scientists have also been reluctant to speak against Sachs on the record for fear of retribution.
  • The Millennium Villages siphon off money better spent elsewhere, and draw attention away from creative, grassroots approaches to local problems. Long-term solutions require sustainable low-tech methods that farmers can control, such as permaculture, seed banks, and green manure; as well as redistributive land reform and marketing boards to provide some security.
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation (no direct relation to the Millennium Villages project). Created in 2004, the MCC is a U.S. Government aid organization that has spent $5.5 billion since 2004 awarding contracts to private businesses in target countries. The MCC's focus on raising the overall GDP is being pursued with the same failed policies as the IFIs: aggressive privatization, foreign direct investment (predatory capital), and global integration.  One of the more contentious aspects for small farmers are land grabs by foreign investors, facilitated via MCC contracts for "Systematic Land Regularization and Improvement of Rural Land Allocation." A recent report by GRAIN reveals that the MCC has been using "Land Regularization" to change land ownership rules and gain access to tens of thousands of acres of land in three of the ECOWAS countries: Benin, Ghana, and Mali.
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    Good critique of Earth Institute
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