Friday, July 09, 2004

Bad news for Africa

In a 28-June SciDev article titled No quick fix to Africa's food problems, David Dickson summarized an advisory report to the UN, and demonstrates that he is a monster.

There's no quick fix because the environments are too diverse.

At root is the wide diversity of farming and food systems on the continent, a reflection partly of the variety of ecological and climatological conditions, partly of cultural traditions. Other factors range from a lack of a sound scientific infrastructure in educational institutions, to inadequate roads and storage facilities which mean that, even when food is produced, it often can't get to where it's needed, or rots before it can be used.

In addition, though Dickson doesn't mention it, several governments use starvation for political ends.

The report, and Dickson, hope that governments and native research groups will make food production and distribution a priority, with "science and technology at its center." No mention of what to do with Mugabe.

Nice ideas, albeit not quite complete. But Dickson would rather people starve than give up his pet prejudices:

One of the main virtues of the IAC report is the extent to which it underlines that, unlike Asia and Latin America, there are no technical fixes to Africa's food problems (a particularly refreshing conclusion at a time when proponents of genetically-modified foods are claiming to offer one). Rather, it emphasizes that creating a situation in which the continent is able to provide enough food for its population requires action at many levels.

Read that again. The emphasis is mine. Why is he happy that there isn't a quick "green revolution" fix for Africa's food problems?

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