Food. Crisis. This is the underlying buzz that gets modest media attention.
Headlines: Syrian refugee’s Overwhelm World Food Bank, UN Cuts Food to Syrian Refugees, Cash Strapped World Food Program…
Maybe we read the headline, but then most will scroll down without clicking the article. It’s not in our backyard, or is it?
Nearly a million Palestinians in Israel get food aid. Four million Syrian refugee’s in Jordan get food aid. According to World Food Program, 41 countries in Africa get food aid, 10 in South America, 6 in the Middle East and 17 in Asia. So far this year, 7 months, contributions by governments to just this one agency amounted to $2.5 billion. Some notable countries that were not on the list for 2015 include; Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, Austria, Poland, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and Iraq. And while some countries made attempts to contribute despite their own economic woes, one country didn’t even make the list of 101 as making a contribution at all for the past five years – Israel.
The US contributed nearly half the entire aid at $1.06 billion.
But the US program has fault lines that ravage the actual aid in red tape and bureaucracy. According to OXFAM, 59 cents of every dollar we spend goes to middlemen. In addition, the time frame to get food to the need takes 4-6 months.
But there is an even more grave hitch in this entire avalanche of need. Many of the countries receiving food aid are victims of foreign land grabs. The remainder are mostly refugees, people who will never climb out of refugee status and will forever be on the list living inc amps, living in squalor. These 51.6 million refugees are typically the product of regime change civil war and include those residing outside the country in camps and those remaining inside in destitution. Afghanistan stands at 5 million, Syria at 19.6 million, Sudan 5.5 million, South Sudan 4.5 million, Nigeria at 2.5 million, and Yemen has now topped over 1 million as a result of bombing this year.
The ideology used to be the quote; “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The problem? There is no backdoor revenue to be had if you teach a man to take care of himself. The revenue is generated in man’s dependence. It is the same ideology used in the US with Social Entitlements. And still the people take it because they haven’t any other offer.
After WWII, job training was a primary government focus. Today the focus is on creating a new poverty that will create a burgeoning industry to create unsurpassed wealth.
While the US and G-7 Members advocate heavily for land grabbing as a means of feeding the poor, sixty percent of the African land grabs produce cash crops that are exported. The labor is dirt cheap, and the profits exponential. The African that once fished for himself is now on food aid. A vicious cycle that gets little attention because everyone wants on the bandwagon – even the media.
Still the stories predict nothing but gloom for the future. While many focus on global warming as the culprit, the obvious is left unsaid; most of the land grabs do NOT produce crops that will put a dent to food shortages, instead they produce crops that are a by-product of fuel. We are taking what used to be partially sustainable land and recreating it for fuel production thereby worsening the FOOD CRISIS. But the Land Grabs are not just in Africa – they are here, now, in the United States!
The Swiss Bank, UBS, has buying up large swathes of land in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Mountain West and Georgia. An investment firm, Gladstone Land Corp is buying up swathes of farmland in Michigan.
Add to the volatile mix Monsanto, who leaves behind a trail of death as it’s pesticides make the soil untenable for new crops and growth, and the food crisis roils ever faster to an implosion. The picture is grim. It crosses lines of Republican and Democrat alliances, it sees international investors in bidding wars. Even Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is trying to jump on the bandwagon and open up farmland to more international investors.
But the consequences will be dire. These are not long term ingrained farmers with knowledge passed from generation to generation on how best to cultivate the land, rotate crops and consume with a plan for the future. These are conglomerates bent on razing the land to get the most the fastest with no thought for anything but the ‘now’. And we, all of us, will be the victims this time.