Monday, February 7, 2011

Success, Disaster, and One or the Other in the Making: African Agriculture

LDS Charities has been working wth IITA (a Nigerian charity) inLuputa,  DRCongo on a project to increase cassava yields and processing. The local members who devised the project [right] and Brother Squires, director of Agriculture Production Services for LDS Charities, are very pleased with the results:
Families also grow their own cassava, then process it in exchange for a small fee used to maintain the equipment. They often have enough flour to use, preserve for food storage and sell for a small profit in the marketplace. Any surplus is used to help care for the poor and needy.
"This project offers sustainability at its best," said Brother Squires. "These subsistence farmers have improved their self-reliance through increased production, improved marketing and better processing. They have given back to those in need with their surplus product. It's a great success story."
The site supervisor for the project, Nestor Ilunga, is featured in a second article this week as he and his family prepare to visit the LDS temple in South Africa, after a 7 hour bus ride to a plane to the DRC capital to a plane for the 1730 miles trip south. The story was the first time I had heard mention of a "General Temple Patron Assistance Fund" to assist families at great distance to attend the temple. "To date, only one family in the Luputa district has been sealed in the temple: the district president and his wife. Full-time missionaries called from the district have also been to the temple."

Southern Africa has meanwhile been facing floods which have damaged local crop production in "portions of Botswana, Lesotho Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa." Over 60% crop losses are reported in Lesotho while Mozambique and South Africa have declared a state of emergency.

The Ethiopian government has agreed to allow private Indian farmers to set up shop to crow pulses and edible oils to export back to India. The Indian government for its part is providing assistance with watershed development and other commercial agricultural investments. More on land grabbing.

Roving Bandit brings to our attention a call for papers on food market systems planning, with an emphasis on the planning. The call also includes plans made by NGOs and landscape architects, but the intro paragraph makes pretty clear their interest in meeting "the official who is in charge of ensuring bread supplies to London."Oh dear.

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