Note: The US continues to push its corporate-driven, profit-motivated and deadly agricultural model on African countries under the nefarious guise of feeding the starving, when all evidence points to the fact that the industrial agriculture model is a failure for all but those “1%” who make their vast riches from it. This is a crime against humanity. For more on how organic agriculture increases yields and helps ameliorate climate change, see our previous blog post.
–The GJEP Team
Tanzania: US Wants African Countries Adopt Dar’s Agro-Blueprint
Cross-Posted from Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
Finnigan Wa Simbeye
19 October 2011
Washington, DC — An agriculture development blueprint christened Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania is one of the best arrangements for public private partnerships to develop the sector which some other African countries should emulate.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Coordinator for Development responsible for Feed the Future initiative, Tjada McKenna told visiting foreign journalists at the Foreign Press Centre here on Wednesday that Washington will support President Jakaya Kikwete’s agro-development blueprint which seeks to rejuvenate the sector.
“The government’s commitment to agriculture is focused on the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), a public private partnership which aims to boost agricultural competitiveness by aligning investment in the sector with existing infrastructure in the southern transport corridor,” Ms McKenna said.
She pointed out that such an initiative and the government’s ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ initiative were essential tools which the US government will support through its 3.5 billion US dollars (approx.4.25trn/-) dubbed Feed the Future initiative.
“We are looking at this model to see if we can replicate it in other countries which are included in the Feed the Future initiative,” she pointed out. Under Feed the Future, the US is targeting 13 African countries including Ghana that has excelled in implementing agriculture policies against poverty and hunger.
The initiative which was hatched by US President Barack Obama soon after taking over power from former President George W. Bushi in 2009, targets to rescue an estimated 18 million people globally from abject poverty and hunger.
Mc Kenna said 80 per cent of Feed the Future’s funding for Tanzania which is allocated 100 million US dollars (approx. 150bn/-) will improve rural livelihoods and nutrition with private sector and civil society support.
United States Department of Agriculture advisor for animal and plant health, Cindy Smith commended President Kikwete’s commitment to development of agriculture which has attracted Washington’s support.
“Countries like Tanzania were selected to benefit from the Feed the Future initiative because of the government’s political commitment to fight poverty and food insecurity,” Ms Smith said as journalists on tour of the US asked what criteria was used to pick the 13 African countries benefiting from Obama’s initiative.
Smith said farmers in poor countries such as Tanzania should be allowed to choose technology which best suits their needs other than being confined to a single technology just because some foreign technologies are deemed risky.
“We want all the three technologies, GE, non GE and conventional to go together as solutions for global hunger and farmers should be allowed to choose,” she argued as foreign journalists fired a barrage of questions demanding to know USDA’s position on safety and sustainability of genetically engineered organisms.
GE means genetic engineering which involves implanting a synthetic or natural tissue in a seed or plant to change its nature to resist pests, droughts or diseases such as leaf blight.