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From Friday Oct 14th to Sunday Oct 16th, get updates from the Monsanto Tribunal and the parallel People’s Assembly.
A Billion Go Hungry Because of GMO Farming: Vandana Shiva
(For clarification, this is an expanded comment on an article posted on “THE HUMANIST VIEW” website. This comment also touches a bit on another article titled “LAND GRABBING AND ‘INDEPENDENCE’ ETHOS” from the same website, in which some character basically blames Uganda’s agricultural problems on those using a handheld hoe for cultivation, instead of competent brains like his.)
Norah, thanks again for bringing us this great speech from Ms. Agnes Kirabo. Please I allow me to use your title which is linked to your website.
Agnes, kudos for not shying away from sensitive critical issues that need to be addressed, doing so both diplomatically and with honesty. Your suggestion of looking within to find solutions that pertain to our problems rather than looking without to imitate developed nations is the way to go because as you mentioned, we have different cultures.
In a developed nation cattle are raised for only one purpose and that is for financial gains, while in some of our cultures cattle are looked at as prestige.
My suggestion is that you expand on each of those topics which you couldn’t do due to time constraints placed upon you, and post the article on a website, please.
Among many critical points you made is “Consensus as far as Research Agenda is concerned” and Food safety or “feeding the population on poison.” I should add, poisoning environment, bees and other pollinators by chemicals which are heavily used in GMO agriculture.
Agnes, let me mention that for those who say that “We may have to invest more on quality education so that we can have people who can competently use their brains rather than the hoes,” I would like to know of any agricultural invented tool by those using their brains competently that can till such a terrain as this that produces most of the food eaten allover Uganda and beyond.
You are right Agnes, we have to move slowly and slowly taking the handheld hoe to the museum, rather than rushing without figuring out whether or not there is any tool on market that can out perform the handheld hoe, let alone be practical to use in such mountainous regions which happen to produce the most food per acre.
As I see it, the hoe is not the problem, it’s the mind, miseducated minds I may add. Some areas were meant for cultivation using only a handheld hoe as it has been done for thousands of years and there is no tractor invented yet by those with competent brains to climb mountains and outdo the handheld hoe.
One of the subjects that opened my eyes in the USA was an elective course in sociology. As the professor realized my interest on the topic of racism, he asked me whether there was racism in the country I came from, to which I answered, not really, but we have tribalism. So for those who just state that “All those countries that re-designed themselves, they never increased their land holdings, but they decided that the land that we have, few people will use it to give us the food we need and then we re-direct the rest of the population to something else,” are ignorant of what they say.
Here is a real example of how a few so called competent brains that got land loans were being determined and I want to hear how it will be any different from Uganda (in this case take race to mean tribe).
But other details are that politicians promise more than they are willing to deliver.
In fact those that are talking of a few brains deserving a right to get most of the land and uprooting the majority without any recourse is not new. Those people are called “The Normans” of today.
To get the whole picture of how agricultural experiments that are being promoted in Uganda, were once done in UK, here is an article that gives some insight of where we could be headed if we allow those who claim that those with competent brains deserve to kick those with less competent brains off their land.
The other part you touched on that is very important is nutrition, which wasn’t mentioned by some Professor. The issue is not just about food quantity that matters. Malnutrition is also rampant in some of those countries that have the most food.
Someone who considers himself to have competent brain than others asserts that “Uganda must export coffee, 10 percent of that land must produce the coffee that will transform our country, transform our people and then we can progress.” Let us find out those countries that produce most coffee and see how they have progressed.
So how does that work out for Ethiopia being one of the top coffee producers in the world? The individual with competent brain gets Uganda into growing cash crops to get foreign exchange at the expense of nutritious foods needed to fight off diseases caused by malnutrition, but fails to understand basic law of economics of demand and supply.
To those who believe they have competent brains while others that use handheld hoes don’t, need to get schooled by Bulbula Tulle, a commercial farmer and grain trader in Ethiopia’s western highlands on the realities of agriculture business in Africa.
But the bottom line is that some of those individuals are just a voice for Biotechnology corporations that want to sell patented seeds to poor Africans and land grab. Mozambique has figured it out, Uganda needs to do the same.
Kudos once again Agnes.
P/S. Looking back, it’s those who claim to have competent brains that crippled NAADS , and not those who use handheld hoes for farming.
PLANS TO EXPORT
My comment to an article titled “MAAIF PLANS EXPORT-ORIENTED LARGE SCALE COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE”
All the following sound good:
“We shall be getting more money from exports. It is very easy to target export markets, once you organise the farmers. We are working with exporters. We are going to register all farmers that produce horticulture for export. That is vegetables and fruits for exports.”
But the most intriguing one is: “We have already done it on paper and it is possible.”
There are a few things that must take place to succeed on some of those plans e.g. “Cotton, we are going to emphasize not only production of cotton, but also value addition”, in other words cotton cloth etc. There must be a ban on all second hand (used) clothes donated from overseas and sold cheaply all over the country, for local cotton so called “added value programs” to succeed.
Here is the tricky part about developing nations trying to export to developed nations, price influence through Agricultural subsidies of developed countries. One has to understand how subsidies work in developed nations to be able to plan effectively for those markets. Here is a simplified version that goes to the point, “Our crazy farm subsidies, explained”.
And it is not that this unfair competition has(n’t) been known for sometime.
Of the countries studied by the OECD, 94 percent of subsidies were spent by Asia, Europe, and North America—leaving only 6 percent for the rest of the world. EU spent over $106 billion on agricultural subsidies in total.
However, there are some areas that Uganda has an advantage in, and it is in Organic farming. Simple reason, for example in U.S. organic farming doesn’t get subsidies and there is a short supply of anything organic.
The organic food revolution that is minting millionaires.
I don’t understand how the minister of Agriculture could have mentioned fertilizers’ contribution to increasing production but forgot to mention irrigation especially with this global warming that brings about un-predicitable droughts. Unless the value of irrigation is appreciated and given investment into, we will keep looking up the sky waiting for rain manna to fall from heaven, instead of using the water manna that God gave us long ago and is kept safely under the ground.
The role of water in agricultural development:
The problem is that Africans believe in free lunch, case in point: “In December 2015, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an Emergency Appeal of 950,205 Swiss francs to meet the food security needs of 11,500 people affected by the drought in Namibia. However, the Appeal has only been funded 15 per cent, which means that only 1,200 people are being supported with drought relief by the Red Cross.”
The question is this: “How much investment has Namibian government put into irrigation since 2012 when massive aquifers were discovered?”
“Too soon to tap Namibia’s groundwater find, experts say”
Your guess is as good as mine why Namibia was told that it was too soon to tap under ground water, yet longer droughts are causing famine and deaths. “A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new “water barons” — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.”