Giving aid to Africa, helping to develop their agricultural infrastructure, developing their businesses… all sounds very altruistic doesn’t it? But what many people are unaware of is the underlying motif that may actually be behind such activities. DfiD (the Department for International Development) has recently been supporting a corporate government scheme entitled ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’. This morning I read an article on the WDM website outlining the realities of this campaign and I thought it important to spread the word that although at prima face projects such as this may seem good willed, there may well be underlying problems that we are unaware of.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of the UK aid budget is being channelled through this initiative, which is demanding that African governments change their laws to facilitate the expansion of agribusiness. There will certainly be some winners from the scheme which is helping the multinational companies involved to access raw materials and new markets. But the small-scale farmers who feed the majority of the African population look set to lose out.
The changes are making it easier for big companies to take over land, prioritising produce for export over food for local people, and facilitating the privatisation of seeds. So it’s not surprising that last year, 100 African farmers groups and civil society organisations signed a statement denouncing the New Alliance as part of a “new wave of colonialism”.
The sad reality is that this is just one of many examples of projects that may at first seem good willed and altruistic, but in reality may actually contribute to an increasingly globalised and commodified world, helping to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
Next time you read about an aid campaign or development initiative hosted by the West, think about the logistics, and question whether they are actually providing all of the benefits proposed or is there a darker initiative? I’m not saying that this is representative of all projects of this type, but it is important that we have our eyes open…
The original article can be found at http://wdm.org.uk/food-and-hunger/slice-magnificent-african-cake