Petition Closed
Petitioning President Obama

Support smale scale agro-ecological practices in Africa, NOT agribusiness


Please consider the incredible injustice about to be done to Africa through the powers that be.  The soils, food supply and quality of life will surely go down, ultimately, under Obama's current plan.  It is our hope that his ears might open to a swelling of protest, if for no other reason than a genuine caring for his home and family.  We can do something about this...join our voices in protest!  The following is the article that spurred this petition to be created:

 

President Obama's announcement today of $3 billion in private investments in a poverty- and hunger-relieving plan for Africa is set to be a boon for giant agribusiness, a move critics say leaves small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods in the dust.

Chad Food Crisis: a market garden helps provide income and food security“The rhetoric is all about small-scale producers, but they haven’t yet been a part of the G-8’s conversation,” Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam said. (photo: Oxfam International)

The pledged investments come from agricultural behemoths including Dupont, Monsanto and Cargill.

The G8, now meeting in Maryland, has presented a view of private investments as a way of solving poverty.

“The G8 must not give in to the temptation to make bold and convenient assumptions about the private sector as a development panacea,” said Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America.

Raj Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, argued that a public-sector solution to alleviating hunger is "highly unlikely." Kripke, however, dismisses that claim.

“There is no evidence that the growing focus on private sector engagement at the expense of other approaches will truly deliver for the fight against hunger,” said Kripke.

The planned investment does not bring the voices of small-scale farmers to the table, but does set a plan for massive profits to be reaped by giant agribusiness. “The rhetoric is all about small-scale producers, but they haven’t yet been a part of the G-8’s conversation,” Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam said. Giant agribusiness' "objective is not to fight against hunger; their objective is to make money” Ndiaye said.

Ronnie Cummins, Director of Organic Consumers Association, states that the Obama approach to alleviating hunger through the investment of corporations is "misguided." "To help the world’s two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets."

"Bill Gates, Monsanto, and Barack Obama may believe that genetic engineering and chemical-intensive agriculture are the tools to feed the world, but a look at the 'fatal harvest' of modern agribusiness tells a different story. Not only can climate-friendly, healthy organic agriculture practices feed the world, but in fact organic farming is the only way we are going to be able to feed the world,” added Cummins.

As written by the COMMON DREAMS staff - see commondreams.org

Letter to
President Obama
I just signed the following petition addressed to: President Obama.

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Support small scale agro-ecological practices in Africa, NOT agribusiness

Dear President Obama,

We ask you to consider doing whatever you can in your power to support the small scale farming practices of Africa. In providing relief through the giant international agri-business sector, you may well pose more threat to the quality of life and the quality of soil (and therefore food), than good. Please consider the following quote from the Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America, Gawain Kripke:

“The G8 must not give in to the temptation to make bold and convenient assumptions about the private sector as a development panacea. There is no evidence that the growing focus on private sector engagement at the expense of other approaches will truly deliver for the fight against hunger,” said Kripke.

In considering other possibilities, please note that bringing representatives of the small scale farmers to the table with the G-8 to discuss strategies and options is the only approach to possibly finding a solution that truly benefits everyone involved.

As we have appreciated the First Lady's commitment to health, including her commitment to organic gardening, we are sure you will understand the following sentiment from Ronnie Cummins, Director of Organic Consumers Association:

“Study after study has shown that organic, agro-ecological farming practices on small diverse farms can boost yields in Africa and the developing world from 100-1000% over the yields of chemical-intensive or genetically engineered mono-crop farms. To help the world’s two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) reduce crop yields, and increase pesticide use, even according to USDA statistics. [Leaders] may believe that genetic engineering and chemical-intensive agriculture are the tools to feed the world, but a look at the “fatal harvest” of modern agribusiness tells a different story. Not only can climate-friendly, healthy organic agriculture practices feed the world, but in fact organic farming is the only way we are going to be able to feed the world.”

Our desire is that your actions reflect an investment is truly in ending hunger, not supporting corporate profit to the detriment of Africa's people.