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Organic Farming 'Could Feed Africa'

  • Also: Link to "Organic Consumers & Companies Harassed by Drug Agents & Police"
    By Daniel Howden
    The Independent, UK, October 22, 2008
    Straight to the Source

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Organic Farming 'Could Feed Africa'

Organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition it has been locked in for decades, according to a major study from the United Nations to be presented today.

 New evidence suggests that organic practices - derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad - are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa's small farmers who remain among the poorest people on earth. The head of the UN's Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said the report "indicates that the potential contribution of organic farming to feeding the world maybe far higher than many had supposed".

The "green revolution" in agriculture in the 1960s - when the production of food caught and surpassed the needs of the global population for the first time - largely bypassed Africa. Whereas each person today has 25 per cent more food on average than they did in 1960, in Africa they have 10 per cent less.

A combination of increasing population, decreasing rainfall and soil fertility and a surge in food prices has left Africa uniquely vulnerable to famine. Climate change is expected to make a bad situation worse by increasing the frequency of droughts and floods.

It has been conventional wisdom among African governments that modern, mechanised agriculture was needed to close the gap but efforts in this direction have had little impact on food poverty and done nothing to create a sustainable approach. Now, the global food crisis has led to renewed calls for a massive modernisation of agriculture on the hungriest continent on the planet, with calls to push ahead with genetically modified crops and large industrial farms to avoid potentially disastrous starvation.

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post Today, 12:07 PM

in my opinion, this is the precurser to the campaign to turn africa into a new breadbasket. this is well and good at the face of it, the deeper issues are not apparent yet. bono wants to feed africa; africa is able to feed itself. some of my research shows that the vast amount of african countries are growing food, especially rice, that is not tainted with gmos. south africa is not gmo-free at all and enjoys much benefit from the agricorps and their gifts of gmo crops.
i'm all for africa feeding itself and growing continuous crops and healthy foods, but not at the stake of safety. i would like bono and the group that is pushing this to announce more clearly its intentions and how it will accomplish this momentous feat, let alone tackle the militant governments and violent ways of many of the factions within these countries. BONO- i would love to see your answer to this. glad-handing with george bush does not sit well with me.