Friday, 17 February 2012

In Print and Online ; Food for Thought ?

"We must plan adequately for the food crises that emerge within our broken food system, and we must finally acknowledge how broken it is. Only when we are honest about hunger will the world`s most vulnerable populations receive the short-term aid and the long-term support that they need."

So wrote Olivier de Schutter (Famine Isn`t an Extreme Event..., , 30 Jan 2012, in the Povertymatters Blog).

Responses to his piece have been mixed. Socialist Banner (a blog devoted mainly to issues related to Africa  run by members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain ) dismissed it as "tinkering with the system") . I wouldn`t dismiss de Schutter`s ideas so readily, myself.

Comments posted by Guardian readers, perhaps inevitably, make dispiriting reading.

Few of those responding actually discussed de Schutter`s proposals, and many seemed predisposed to make big, empty, sweeping statements that did little to bring about meaningful discussion. I strongly suspect that many had little concept of differences within and between African nations - rural, urban, arid, `not arid` (what`s the opposite of arid ? I can`t think of the word). It follows that few could deal with any further complexities (some smaller African nations have a very limited product base, others produce  a variety of goods and services).

As far as I can see, what is needed is more discussion and better-informed discussion, which hopefully will lead to a clearer insight into the problem.

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