Fighting for seeds and soil: a film
By: Dan Iles
Date: 31 May 2016
“The chemical based model of farming drains income because you have to buy seeds and buy fertilisers, to buy insecticide and buy pesticide. Organic farming is a lot more successful [and I don’t have] to buy from the shop.”
These words are the simple no nonsense evaluation of the industrial model of farming by Hadiji Kibwana, a small-scale farmer in Tanzania. Put in a different way, why buy chemicals when ecological methods are free, more effective and better for the environment?
It makes complete sense. So much sense that it is hard to understand why the UK government, the EU and other rich nations have been channelling billions of pounds towards a model that pushes these chemical techniques on farmers. Hard to understand until you see the powerful story they have been sold by the world’s biggest food and agricultural corporations. Sell farmers our products and together we will solve world hunger. A story that has billions of investment and some of the most influential corporations in the world behind it.
We went to Tanzania to hear about another story. It is a story without the multi billion pound investments. But instead it has people power. Millions of small-scale farmers across the world are building an ecological model of farming that increases yields but doesn’t require chemicals, making it better for the environment and importantly gives control over food growing to the farmer rather than a corporation.
And now we have made a film so you can hear a few of these voices yourself – take a look:
As this video shows, Tanzania is a country at forefront of this global battle for control over our food as corporations are lining up to seize control over the country’s land, seeds and soil. On the other side, passionate small-scale farmers groups are building ecological food systems in an attempt to keep control of their resources.
Aid donors need to decide; is aid money there to help small-scale farmers get better access to chemical free technologies or is it simply to expand the market reach of large corporations?
An important decision in Europe
On the 6 June the EU will vote on whether to approve a report that is full of substantial criticism of the New Alliance, an aid initative which helps corporations push a large scale, chemical intensive model of farming on African countries. In short this report is a damning indictment of the industrial model of agriculture that UK and EU aid have been pushing. The EU will be the first parliament to properly review the scheme since it was launched in 2012. And if this report is passed it will send a clear message to other aid departments that this model does not make the inroads into solving hunger that it promises and only helps to further the agenda of corporations.
We hope this is just the beginning as democratic institutions across the G7 begin to unravel the false solutions peddled by huge corporations who say they can stop world hunger at the same time as making a profit.
If this report is passed by the EU we will be using it to ask the UK government to hold its own review. And we will need your help to make them listen. So stay tuned.