1403 G8’s Alliance on Food Security and the commitments made by African countries

In 2012, the G8 launched the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition”. According to the G8, the New Alliance would focus on increasing agricultural productivity and aim to take 50 million out of poverty. The agribusiness companies are seen as key players to realize these goals and many large companies are involved in this Alliance, while the main food producers in many African countries, family farmers, are not being consulted. 


Via the G8’s Alliance, the private sector was able to draw concessions from African governments “enabling” their investment in Africa’s agriculture. Ten African countries agreed to change seed, land and tax laws (over 200 policy commitments were made) and even to make land available for commercial investment by large agribusiness firms. The G8’s initiative has facilitated contacts between the agribusiness and policymakers, while family farmers were left out of discussions on their future.


Here are some examples of what African states have committed to under the G8’s Initiative. Both Malawi and Ghana have pledged to open up farmland for commercial investment in the short term, (Malawi 200,000 ha & Ghana 10,000 ha). Ethiopia promised to modify land laws in order to facilitate long-term leasing and Mozambique will facilitate procedures to acquire land. Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania have all committed to changing their seed laws. This will increase dependence of family farmers on imported seeds and will prevent innovation in seed development at home. Benin, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Senegal and Tanzania have pledged to improve services to investors, to award tax incentives and to modify regulations with the aim of facilitating investment by large agribusiness companies.


All of the above risks increasing land grabbing across the continent because there are no safeguards to protect the land rights of the local population and, in particular, of family farmers. Surrendering African agriculture to foreign companies will oblige local farmers to buy expensive seeds and fertilizers on volatile international markets where prices are set by a handful of companies. On top of that, this will lead to the disappearance of local seeds and hence the disappearance of local food varieties, increasing the risk for hunger and poverty even more. So instead of reducing poverty and hunger, the G8’s Alliance is likely to produce the opposite effect in Africa because it surrenders the control of Africa’s natural resources to foreign companies and does not prevent land grabbing endangering the local populations’ food sovereignty.


For more information on the pledges by African countries, click here


For more information on the involvement of foreign agribusiness in the G8’s initiative, click here


Source The Guardian

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