An Illusion of Choice: A story on Biodiversity, Camp David, and the Farmers

Diversity is integral to our global mental health. Biodiversity is critical for our survival. If we destroy THE most biodiverse and resource rich continent in the world by altering its ecosphere, we alter our collective future forever. We alter the course to progress for Africa forever. So, what does the G8 Summit held two weeks ago at Camp David, where President Obama met with private industry and African heads of state to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition propose and how will it effect this?

It is said, this new alliance is a euphemism for monocultured, genetically modified crops and toxic agrochemicals aimed at helping poor farmers but which will invariably turn them into ‘debt slaves’ to the very corporations proposing to help them, while also successfully destroying Africa’s and ultimately our Global ecosphere for profit. Proposing GMOs in Africa  as a solution to enable Agricultural progress, with no way back, is a serious problem to consider, discuss and campaign about; especially when the people in whose name it is for are saying : “No” – click here.

I was 19 years old, when I first came across the name ‘Monsanto‘ in an issue on ‘Agent Orange‘, and then again in the 1998 dedicated edition from my favourite subscription ‘The Ecologist” called The Monsanto Files. I learnt much about their use of ‘Agent Orange’ , was educated on GMO seeding and so much more. Three years ago I started developing my own idea of a sustainable development plan where Agriculture as a socio-economic driver could be used as a powerful tool for progress in Africa. Agriculture was a core part of family life for many of our parents, so why was Africa starving in just one generation?

Production of Food after-all is a fundamental element of self-sufficiency, independence and a viable source of income. Many ended up flocking to Cities (now grossly over-crowded) abandoning agricultural life in search of a better means to feed their families because the governments had ‘forgotten’ to include them in any progressive plans to sustain or guarantee an agricultural future. Our governments lacked the foresight to invest in the farming communities. In fact, some willfully destroyed it (*cough* Mugabe); though not without help from the Colonial powers or Africa based Western farmers who were savvy enough to never teach the indigenous population large scale farming techniques or use of machinery whilst using their labour to harvest more profit and gain. No investment in the indigenous farming population or practices. A sad but very apparent by-product of Colonialism where the Imperialist devolution of power was in name but never in economic terms, forced or not. Though in fairness, it was the work of the expelled white Zimbabwean farmers in other regions in Africa which further coaleasced my Agriculture plan for  sustainable development.

So where in the illusion of choice: a the story of biodiversity, Camp David and the small African Farmer can we see the wood for the trees? Obama, the G8 and participants are looking at hard currency business transactions: nothing else. The ramifications are far greater than what is being glossed over and promoted as a ‘new Paradigm’ for partnership with Africa. If the summit at Camp David really aims to create a new paradigm, it would not involve further destroying: indigenous seeding, bio-diversity, natural eco-systems and ultimately the Agricultural sovereignty of Africans. It would create a partnership which strengthens African Agriculture; educates the set up in large-scale farming; establishing means to ensure intra-continental scalability (by this I mean Africa Feeds Africa); and holds accountable in its terms corrupt Corporation, Oligarchies and/or Governmental mismanagement (Nigeria and the Dangote supply monopoly on Rice, Sugar and Cement as an example) which in turn is fed back to the farmers in monetary terms, and improve their community directly – by this I mean to include issues affecting Women and Children.

Once we lose species, be it sea, animal or plant life, it is gone FOREVER. FOREVER. It is unfathomable for sure, but not out of the realm of reasonable thinking to understand. Nor can we continue in our collective arrogance and obstinance to assume it does not matter. It does. Or, that we will recover. We won’t. Certainly not as Mother Nature intended, with good reason, over millenias. A great deal more than we have been able to compile – we are still discovering the extent of the connections in our ecosphere, let alone biosphere – is largely still a study-in-progress. I watched a wonderful documentary last night on BBC2 called ‘Secrets of our Living Planet: Savannahs’ focussing on how Grasslands flourish across all the continents with their own intricate ecosphere connections, and explaining the need for Nitrogen rich soil as a common thread. What would agrochemicals do to this fragile ecosphere on one of the most biodiverse landmass on the planet? It is not an experiment, even one as curious as I, would like to find out the answer to.

Frankly, promoting what the ‘West’ know as an unacceptable equation on their own land in Africa, is a definite call to wake-up. Smell the indigenous plant roots and get moving to stop this proposal if GMOs are at play. Africans will be left dumbfounded, and monocultured in food production only to import ‘organic’ produce from the ‘Developed’ countries? The mind boggles and swiftly thinks of Africa’s oil-rich countries exporting their crude oil only to import petroleum produce because they do not / can not refine.

I am no expert but I do love Planet Earth and all its inhabitant species – Human, Animal, Plants, Sea and yet to be discovered Life alike. All of it. (Ok – some I love more than others). My bells start ringing when I see Monsanto, Pepisco and Kraft foods on the list of participant private companies. Your thoughts?Image