Saturday, February 02, 2008

Meet the Zookeepers

There is a war on for the hearts and minds, and more importantly, stomachs, of Africa between the evil shills and toadies of Big Agribusiness and Big Philanthropy and the compassionate and humane central planners of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Working with the FAO is the International Planning Committee (IPC), a global network of Non-Governmental Organizations(NGO) and Civil Society Organizations(CSO)concerned with food sovereignty issues and programs. What is Food Sovereignty you ask?
Forum for Food Sovereignty: Four Priority Areas

· The right to food and food sovereignty: NGOs/CSOs affirm that the right to safe, adequate and nutritious food and healthy water is a fundamental human right of individuals and groups and food sovereignty that of peoples and nations, as well as the right of farmers, peasants and fisherfolk to produce food for their own families and their domestic markets. These fundamental human rights have to be respected by international institutions, governments and the economic actors.

Translation: Government ensured job security for peasant agriculturalists. Government controlled local food markets. A ban on international sales of food.

· Access to, management of, and local control of, natural resources: commitment to ensuring that small-scale farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and Indigenous Peoples should have equitable access to and control over land, water and genetic resources necessary to maintain their livelihoods in a sustainable manner.

Translation: No private ownership of property. Property, resources or mineral rights cannot be traded. Government will allocate land use based on decisions arrived at in NGO/CSO committee meetings by North American and European graduate students.
· Small-scale family and community-based agroecological food production: commitment to prioritizing agroecology as the mainstream sustainable and appropriate production system for food and farming, livestock raising and fisheries.

Translation: Keep the peasants on the land.
· Trade and Food Sovereignty: commitment to promoting an equitable and fair trade system that is a positive force for development and does not detract from the realization of any human rights.

Translation: You'll have no incentive to produce a superior crop. Yields will dwindle, and eventually some NGO/CSO investigative body will come by to nag you for a few days, will hand you some condoms and then they will leave. You'll beg them to take you with them, but they will refuse, as that would detract from the realization of your human right to be a symbol of your indigenous local culture. If they let you leave your village, you might be infected with capitalism. And then they would have to kill you. For your own good, you see. Africa is the last stand against worldwide capitalism.

Welcome to the zoo.


Blogger lonbud said...

Hmmm... looks like somebody got their translation certificate from the Juan Cole School of Ideology-based Applied Translation.

February 02, 2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

You don't need much schooling to translate this stuff. I've spent a small part of the afternoon reading through their stuff, and I've yet to find in any of their plans any place for business or markets. I've only seen one mention of the word individual. In their scenario everything boils down to governments, NGOs and the UN, and communities of people.

I also find it hilarious that they see no irony in how they think that the realization of local, cultural sovereignty requires so much top down planning, command and control from international organizations.

February 02, 2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

'I also find it hilarious that they see no irony in how they think that the realization of local, cultural sovereignty requires so much top down planning, command and control from international organizations.'

A good point.

It is not true, however, that central planning never helps the downtrodden rural poor. Think of southern Appalachia, where market forces produced a population of rickety, toothless, illiterate, slack-jawed starvelings.

It was New Deal meddling that turned that around, although there had been some private do-gooders earlier. Their impact was positive but negligible.

February 02, 2008 8:25 PM  

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