UK NGOs back African civil society G8 opposition

About 30 UK food and development NGOs, including War on Want, Friends of the Earth, The Gaia Foundation and the World Development Movement have signed a joint statement challenging the basis upon which David Cameron and other G8 leaders presume to allow their corporate allies to lay claim to farmland and other resources.

“The G8 has no legitimacy to intervene in matters of food, hunger and land tenure in Africa or any other part of the world,” the UK signatories argue, dismissing the G8 land transparency initiative as “…an illegitimate attempt to whitewash land grabs.”

UK Friends of the Earth spokesperson Kirtana Chandrasekaran declared: “It is unacceptably cynical of the G8 to pretend to be tackling hunger and land grabbing in Africa while backing a scheme that will ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of small farmers.”

Gaia Foundation’s Teresa Anderson added: “If Cameron and the G8 were sincere about helping to address food security in Africa, they would listen to the voices of the continent’s farmers, who have rejected the New Alliance and its corporate vision.”

The UK NGOs are backing a statement put out by networks and organisations across the African continent, in which the signatories denounce the poorly-concealed greed of the commercial world:

“Africa is seen as underperforming and in control of valuable resources that capital seeks for profitable purposes. The World Bank and others tell us Africa has an abundance of available fertile land, and that Africa’s production structure is inefficient, based as it is on many small farms producing mainly for themselves and their neighbourhoods.”

The African civil society statement, ‘Modernising African Agriculture: Who Benefits?’ is signed by African networks such as the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA); Tanzania Biodiversity Alliance; the Alliance for Agro-Ecology and Biodiversity, Zambia; People’s Dialogue and the Rural Women’s Assembly, are supported by national organisations in voicing concerns that the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will threaten the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across Africa.

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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.