Charles W. Elliott
In a recent (June 30, 2013) speech in Cape Town, South Africa, U.S. President Obama announced new overtures to support agriculture in Africa. But the people of Africa need to be on their guard lest these renewed efforts to “help farmers” in Africa become mere Trojan horses for corporate colonialism.
President Obama declared that “Governments and businesses from around the world are sizing up the continent, and they’re making decisions themselves about where to invest their own time and their own energy.” With phrases invoking American generosity, he proclaimed that:
Instead of shipping food to Africa, we’re now helping millions of small farmers in Africa make use of new technologies and farm more land. And through a new alliance of governments and the private sector, we’re investing billions of dollars in agriculture that grows more crops, brings more food to market, give farmers better prices[.]
No one would complain if the United States and its corporate partners would help “millions of small farmers” grow more food. But we wonder: what kind of agriculture is the beneficiary of billions of dollars of investment? And what are the “new technologies” that purportedly will help those millions of small farmers?