There is a commonly shared neo-colonialist expression: The Europeans have the watches; the Africans have the time. Today, the European Green Party, with the support of countless environmentalist NGOs, proposed an initiative in the European Parliament to make Africa wait for at least another generation to be able to lift itself out of poverty.
The report tabled by Green MEP, Maria Heubuch, is as vile as it is selfish in its neo-colonialist demands to impose peasant agriculture on a continent trying to develop and feed itself. The Greens are demanding that the European Union not be involved with the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition which is donating billions to create a green agricultural revolution in ten of the poorest African countries. Many identify what has been achieved in Asia today as due to the World Bank’s investments in agricultural technologies in the 1960s and 70s and what is sorely lacking in Africa today.
The New Alliance is a multi-stakeholder platform based on commitments and shared strategies to end hunger and halve poverty in Africa by 2025. “It consists of high-level representatives from African governments, development partners, the African and multinational private sectors, civil society, and farmers’ organizations that monitor, support and advance progress.” It is donating $28 million to the African Development Bank to invest in agricultural infrastructure, $47 million on technology projects and millions spread across a variety of data and ICT applications for African agriculture. Then there is the commitment to the World Bank’s Food Security Program (coming up to a billion dollars). See the original commitment following the G-8-Africa Summit in the US in 2012. With over $3 billion originally committed, this is serious money, a serious commitment and a serious strategy to finally address a serious problem.
Why would the Green Party try to stop this?
The Greens seem to be unhappy that several big industrial firms are participating and also donating to the New Alliance. They are afraid that these companies (six in total) will push agricultural technologies on farmers, increasing their yields and improving their well-being. As an alternative, they are asking that African governments invest in smallholdings and family farms to practice agro-ecology.
Now I understand that the greens, environmentalists and the organic food lobby are eager to ensure a cheap supply of organic food (in the same way that the American organic industry is salivating over free trade with impoverished Cuba), but can these self-righteous eco-zealots not see that these family farms have been the reason why Africa has not developed and why so many poor children are tied to the land rather than in schools?
No, seriously, they need to have a good reason to oppose investing in African agricultural technology. Well, the greens seem to think that developing African agriculture will lead to increased land grabs by big industrial farms putting pastoral communities into greater difficulties. Not only do they not see the commitments, strategies for widely recognised land titles and the different research organisations involved, the greens are exhibiting a very short memory. Africa is recovering from a devastating land grab a decade ago for biofuel production, a folly imposed on the continent by misguided environmentalist proposals to replace fossil fuels with products they had erroneously thought were carbon neutral. […]
A sad day for Africa
Today, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, MEPs voted “overwhelmingly” by 577 MEPs, with only 24 against and 69 abstentions to accept the Green Party’s Heubuch Report and demand that the European Union stop funding the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. It is with great hope that the world ignores this unfortunate act, considering it as a narrow-minded gesture towards appeasing a backward looking European green constituency…