“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Africa needs an agricultural revolution

An African 'green revolution' would generate a number of productive jobs in agriculture and provide a leg up out of poverty for many

Guardian, Jan 24, 2011

Farmer Esau Edonu with his cattle in Katine, a village in north-east Uganda,
east Africa. Photograph: Dan Chung/The Guardian

Africa's peasants are migrating to the cities in huge numbers because it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive on their farms.

Farmers are trapped into using inefficient technologies; average cereal yields have barely increased in 40 years and farm sizes are shrinking. Although Africans are leaving the farm, far too few are finding productive jobs in the cities. Most are getting poorer, the cost of safety-net programmes is escalating and Africa's dependence on concessionary food imports is growing. As the recent world food crisis has demonstrated, these trends can have catastrophic consequences for the continent's poor.

The situation in Africa today bears some striking similarities with Asia in the early 1960s. Asian countries also wanted to industrialise, but faced with worsening food shortages, slow agricultural growth, and a large agricultural workforce with many peasant farmers, they saw that rapid agricultural growth was a key step along the path to industrialisation.

Asian governments spent 10-15% of their total budget on agriculture each year, investing heavily in agricultural research, irrigation, rural roads and power. They also provided direct policy support to their farmers by shoring up farm credit systems, subsidising vital inputs like fertiliser, power, and water, and intervening in markets to ensure that farmers received adequate and stable prices.

Many of these interventions were targeted to small farms, who enthusiastically adopted the new technologies and typically outperformed larger farms.

The green revolution that these policies inspired helped transform Asia. It pulled the region back from the edge of an abyss of famine and led to regional food surpluses within 25 years. It created huge amounts of productive employment in agriculture and allied industries, lowered food prices, lifted many people out of poverty, and bolstered savings and domestic demand to help grow many nascent industries.

Africa, in contrast, has failed to do the same. African governments and donors have invested relatively little in agriculture. For over 40 years African governments have spent 5-6% of their total budget on agriculture, less than half the share spent in Asia. Donors have also played down agriculture, contributing little more than $1bn per year (in 2004 prices) – a paltry $30 per African farmer – for agricultural development, hardly enough to kickstart an agricultural revolution.

One consequence of this neglect is the appalling state of rural infrastructure in Africa. Africa has only exploited a fraction of its irrigation potential, and the density of rural roads today is a fraction of what Asia had in the 1950s. As a result, African farmers rely almost exclusively on rain-fed farming and face exceptionally high transport and marketing costs that makes a shift to more efficient farming unprofitable.

There is ample evidence to show that yields can be dramatically increased in Africa when farmers have access to improved technologies and markets. Africa's small farmers have also proved themselves no less entrepreneurial or efficient than their Asian cousins when given the opportunity. But exploiting this potential on a large scale would require a quantum increase in public investment in agricultural research and rural infrastructure, and that African governments provide more supportive policies for agriculture, including partnering with private firms to strengthen input-supply systems and food grain markets. As in Asia, Africa's green revolution will need to begin in "bread basket" areas that have the better agricultural potential and market access.

An African green revolution would generate many productive jobs in agriculture and provide a leg up out of poverty for many. By securing family food supplies through higher yields, it would enable many small farmers to free up land and labour for more profitable uses. It would also increase local demand for higher-value foods and non-farm goods and services, creating additional productive employment in rural areas. As in Asia, this would create a growing domestic demand for some of Africa's industries, especially those related to agricultural processing.

Africa must industrialise, but history shows there are few pathways from an agrarian state that do not involve an early agricultural revolution. The alternative favoured by some is to create export-oriented, manufacturing enclaves that, even if highly successful, would barely dent Africa's employment needs, while at the same time consolidating land into large farms and pushing millions of peasants off the land. Asia provides a better model to avoid the catastrophe that would follow from such 1950s thinking.

• Peter Hazell is visiting professor at Imperial College London and a professorial research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He will be speaking at IFAD's conference, New directions for smallholder agriculture, which begins in Rome today

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