Will the New Alliance help Africa’s poor?

The not-for-profit website farmlandgrab is maintained by a nongovernmental organisation (NGO), GRAIN. A week ago farmlandgrab asked whether the New Alliance will help Africa’s poor.

‘Critics say this seemingly noble effort – among wealthy nations, African leaders and international corporations – to increase private sector investment in agriculture, is precisely the problem. Several NGOs and civil society organisations say this solution focuses too heavily on private investment and is the wrong solution to a complex and growing hunger crisis.

‘Among the concerns is that smallholder farmers could be pushed out of their land to make way for large, powerful international corporations.’

Raj Patel, writer, adviser to the united Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the right to food, added his opinion. ‘I don’t think [the New Alliance will work] … in so far as it concentrates on increasing food production … The reason for hunger is not a shortage of food but poverty. And without specifically addressing poverty, particularly without addressing women’s poverty, what this initiative is doing is essentially paving the road for large businesses, whether African or international, to be able to have African resources in the African market, rather than addressing the reason why people are poor in the first place.’

That means, doesn’t it, that some people think the New Alliance is a great big land grab.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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2 Responses to Will the New Alliance help Africa’s poor?

  1. dianabuja says:

    I agree with Patel – the problem is not ‘private sector’ as such, but just how it is organized – and this is at base one of my problems with the current ala mode concept of ‘value chains’, which I still intend to get back to your question about value chains, thinking of doing a blog about it this coming week!

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