South-Africa, here I come

While in my home country funds are raised for feeding the millions who are starving, I am in the airplane to South-Africa. Climate change strikes the continent fiercely. Also South-Africa experiences prolonged periods of extreme drought. How can one country reasonably cope with problems while others seem to loose all control?

Millions of people are in danger of starvation. Especially children are severely malnourished. Nobody shall oppose the fact that those innocent victims will be helped.

Yet there is criticism. Not about feeding children, but on the fact that this is necessary. Never in history it was possible to produce more agricultural products per hectare then today. Never before, logistics and conservation techniques were more efficient. Yet millions of people are in serious danger of starvation. How is that possible?

The famine in Africa is a symptom

In the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant autor Alphonse Muambi points it out: ‘The famine in Africa is a symptom of chronic armed conflicts, political conflicts, corruption and climate change.’

Also a country like South Africa knows it’s problems. I go there to take a look at how things are organizes. I will attend the congress of the IFAJ, the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

The organisation, which is fully sponsored by the international agribusiness, calls this country the gateway to Africa. Because agriculture has enormous potential and great exporting possibilities.

I however am especially curious about how South-Africa, despite the prolonged drought that also afflicts the rainbow nation, they are able to secure food security.

According to my vision real change happens from grass roots level. 80 percent of all hungry people depends on small scale farming. If they produce a bit more, the problem is solved. If they will get the possibility to gain more knowledge and will not be kept unknown, they will produce more and learn to cope with climate change. Only than things will change in the fields of corruption and armed conflicts.

Read all about it in my essay SMARTER FARMERS:

© Marc van der Sterren

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