A paper Knowledge-based food democracy, the way out of the African food crisis: realising the potential of the NARS, SROs and FARA was drafted by FARA as a lot is being spent on yet another World Food Summit: this time, to consider what should be done about the global food crisis. [hereunder some extracts]
It is possible that delegates now have a better sense of urgency because the unprecedented rapid rise in food prices has caught everybody’s attention. In developing countries 100 million people are threatened with hunger but the crisis is no longer ‘somebody else’s problem’ even for citizens of the wealthiest countries, who are grappling with inflation in their cost of living. (...)
To have a lasting impact the proposed remedies must be developed and owned by those who are expected to implement them. This is not an easy task because there are many actors involved in Africa’s agricultural development: farmers and their associations, government ministries, cooperatives, international centres, non-governmental organisations, and private businesses, to name just a few. (...)
To cope with this a structured evidence-based approach is needed which links the producers to the consumers into which other actors can fit efficiently and effectively. Fortunately, there are models of success, such as smallholder dairying in Kenya, which can be up-scaled.However, the responses to today’s crisis cannot rely on what was done in the past. Firstly, because the sum of past successes did not change the livelihoods of the majority and secondly, the circumstances in which they succeeded no longer exist and the rate of change is accelerating. Radical innovations in agricultural production and marketing are needed, which are adapted to the prevailing socio-economic and environmental circumstances, and which above all are owned by those expected to implement them. (...)
Africa has not been standing idly by letting the food crisis unfold. It has been engaged in difficult wide ranging institutional restructuring involving farsighted reforms. Within the limits imposed by huge demands on limited budgets, African governments are increasing their investment in agricultural research, development and capacity strengthening. However, to avoid a continent wide calamity Africa also needs the support of its development partners to facilitate the engagement of all stakeholders in true knowledge-based food democracy in line with their commitment to increased better harmonised and better quality development assistance.
Knowledge-based food democracy, the way out of the African food crisis: realising the potential of the NARS, SROs and FARA May 2008 6 pages Download as PDF file