1405 Food and Farmers: When Public-Private Partnerships Become Corporate Takeovers

According to a report by World Development Movement, the G8’s Initiative for Food Security and Nutrition will advance the interests of extractive agribusiness in Africa at the expense of family farmers. African countries that sign up to the initiative are urged to change policies in order to receive aid money from the G8. The required policy changes favour the expansion of activities in Africa of the companies involved in the G8’s Initiative, via Public-Private Partnerships.


These companies are interested in securing their supply of agricultural raw materials in order to ensure manufacture of their food products. Other companies involved are interested in accessing or taking over new markets for their products, especially the hybrid seed, fertilizer and pesticide producers. The seed sovereignty and the access to land for family farmers are endangered by the G8’s Initiative, because it may amplify the phenomenon of land grabbing by which family farmers across Africa have lost millions of hectares of farmland in recent years. The G8 is even asking African countries to reform their land laws in such a way that land can be acquired easily by foreign companies.


Moreover, African governments are being told to reform trade systems so as to facilitate the entry of these companies into Africa, and African countries are being pressed not to impose export restrictions; however, this is very problematic for countries facing food shortages.


So far 10 African countries have signed up to the Initiative: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania. According to the World Development Movement, this Initiative can be considered as “a new wave of colonialism”, especially taking into account the agricultural growth corridors, which are zones demarcated for industrial agriculture to facilitate extraction of raw materials.  As a representative of the West African farmers’ network put it: family farmers need real partnerships, public-peasant partnerships.


Source: Think Africa Press

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