News / Africa

In Southern Africa, Small Farmers Fight for Recognition

Farmers selling maize after harvest in Malawi's northern district of Karonga. (VOA / T. Kumwenda) Farmers selling maize after harvest in Malawi's northern district of Karonga. (VOA / T. Kumwenda)
x
Farmers selling maize after harvest in Malawi's northern district of Karonga. (VOA / T. Kumwenda)
Farmers selling maize after harvest in Malawi's northern district of Karonga. (VOA / T. Kumwenda)
Lameck Masina
Groups representing small-scale farmers, rural women and social activists from the countries of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, are asking the regional bloc to consider stop giving what they say is “red carpet” treatment to multilateral corporations at the expense of the poor.

The call is included in a joint statement issued by the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmer’s Forum and People’s Dialogue which says the region is facing ongoing challenges and a deepening crisis due to neo-liberal economic policies. 

 “Elite and transnational corporate capture and control of people’s basic means of production like land, water and seed is escalating. Natural resources are increasingly being privatized due to the myriad of investment agreements our governments have entered into with corporations, western governments and the "new comers" -- emerging  economies from the South, like the BRICS,” reads the statement.

They say land has been massively grabbed in almost all SADC countries and the agribusiness model is destroying peasant-family agriculture, the only proven sustainable and ecologically friendly model and that can produce the most of food for SADC countries. 

The social movements of the region also say the decisions made during the SADC summits that would benefit the people are not being implemented.
They give an example of the 2008 Maputo Declaration, in which African governments committed to spend 10 percent of their annual budgets to support small-scale farmers to develop their agriculture, saying it is far from being a reality in most or all of SADC countries.

“Instead, we  see SADC been influenced by South African’s commercial agricultural  model based on cash crops for export, undermining local market  development in South Africa and the rest of the region,” says the statement.

A board member of the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmer’s Forum Grace Tepula from Zambia told VOA that  the problem with SADC governments is that they take more care of the people from developed countries who come into the country ‘to deplete our resources’ in terms of investments.

“You would find that here is our ancestral land where we are farming, we have staying in those land for many years.  Here comes the multinational company and we are told to move away because they want to mine -- forgetting that we are the people that are contributing to the food basket in the region for our families and for our neighbors,” she says.

Tepula, who is also a member of Rural Women Assembly, says rural farmers need to continue using traditional seeds and not those supplied by extension services which she says do not last long.

“So our concern from our experience as a rural farmers are the challenges we [face] like land grabbing, lack of water, the indigenous seeds that are being moved away replaced  by other seeds that are being introduced on the market  in our countries and in the region as a whole,” she says.

But the SADC new chairperson President Joyce Banda of Malawi says she will capitalize on her chosen theme of the summit –   which focuses on agriculture – to boost small scale farming in the region.

Agriculturalists say new improved seeds are a solution to the lack of water and vulnerability to insects and other diseases.  They say modern seeds are also higher yielding.

Listen to Masina interview with Grace Tepula of Zambia
Listen to Masina interview with Grace Tepula of Zambiai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid