European Parliament speaks out against agricultural colonialism in Africa

Published on, by Céclie Barbière, June 8, 2016.

MEPs have called on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition NAFSN to radically alter its mission. The Alliance currently pushes African countries to replicate the intensive agricultural practices employed in many developed countries. EurActiv France reports … //

… But in return for increased investment, this partnership pushes its African members to implement certain political reforms that prioritise the needs of big agricultural corporations over those of small-scale farmers, which currently produce more than 70% of the world’s food.

These reforms include the liberalisation of access to farmland, the promotion of certified seeds (GMOs and hybrids) and the implementation of tax reforms to facilitate private investment in agriculture.

MEPs, NGOs at odds over effect of Europe’s GMO stance on developing world … //

… Recurrent criticisms:

While there is nothing new in the Parliament’s criticism of the NAFSN, the adoption of Heubuch’s report is the institution’s first official position statement on the partnership’s philosophy.

“If the New Alliance does not rectify the serious problems we observe, the EU should withdraw its support for the initiative,” Heubuch said.

“European countries and the EU can change things,” Heubuch added. “For example, Germany, which is in charge of the partnership with Benin, has not called for changes in legislation regarding seed ownership.”

Traditionally hostile to GMOs, France is also an outspoken critic of the NAFSN’s approach to food security.

Last December, the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs said it was “aware of concerns surrounding the NAFSN and shared a number of criticisms raised by NGOs, particularly over the lack of transparency in governance and the absence of rules defining which investments to prioritise”.

(full text).

(Background: launched in 2012, the New Alliance is an agricultural development programme financed by the G8 countries and the European Union. Its objective is to take 50 million people out of poverty in ten partner countries in Africa by targeting investment in intensive farming businesses. Family farms produce around 80% of the world’s food and represent 60% of jobs in sub-Saharan Africa).

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