Ideology: Is that what we need to feed Africa?

A few days ago I wrote a post asking who will feed Africa. And as I continue to listen and take part in the food security conversation I come across new terms and words that are being used. The most recent is Ideology.
There have been so many meetings taking place around the continent
and beyond all hinged on food security and how Africa is not able to feed itself
and how it is crucial that we either get more aid or come up with an ideology
to help us feed ourselves.  [Some of the campaigns have had their main
focus on poor countries: and that is most of Africa.] These meetings and campaigns all  seem to
be in support for different ideologies and belief systems as to how this can

This week: the IF Campaign is at the G8 meeting in Belfast talking
of how the world’s poorest countries can feed themselves. In my opinion, that
is their ideology. Get the G8 heads of state to give more aid and that will
avert hunger. First it was every 15 seconds, a child dies of hunger and then the
statistics changed: now it is every 10 seconds. And like Alexander Ruth is
asking: Does a child die every 10 seconds? And if so, what are we doing
especially as Africans? I disagree a lot with the notion of food aid. Why have
we as Africa become so dependent on food aid? Can we do without food aid? And
has food aid in itself become a hindrance to Africa becoming food secure? If
$4-6 million has been sent down to Sub Saharan Africa in food aid for the last
40 years, how come that we are still hungry? Maybe that aid needs to be
withdrawn so that our leaders can learn to stand on their own and work with
what we have. [Maybe].
Last week  I was part of a
conversation hosted by SID [Society for International Development] whose aim was to look at whether Africa can  come up with different approaches and
ideologies on Food Security. We [Africa] have a great deal of resources that
need for us to make use of them. We need new approaches. Our traditional ways
have not worked for us. Africa has made so many discoveries of oil and gas in
the recent past.  And according to the
Global Trends in Renewable Energy
Investment 2013 Report, [ by the Frankfurt
School-UNEP Collaborating Center for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance]  Increased economic growth and infrastructure investment has
made Africa “one of the world’s most promising renewable energy markets”.
In a shift away from small, independent projects, a number of large, grid-connected wind
and solar plants are due to be built on the continent throughout 2013. This
means that we are making huge strides. In both the renewable energy sector and the
oil and gas sector. This could as well build an even better ideology on how
Africa can feed itself. A look at the Gulf States and you will know that it is
not all about land and farming, there is also other alternative ways and
methods that can be used to create ideologies that can be used to feed our continent.
Situma Mwichabe suggests that Africa could
do with a well thought out ideology. One that would help Africa feed itself in
the near future. However his system of belief is hinged on agrarian.  He says to consolidate a shared vision of what
we want as Africa. That vision will then shape our ideology. If we are dealing
with farmers whatever interventions we put across or agree on should be popular
with the farmers.  Skills,
experience and finances are of paramount importance as well. And let us stop
looking to the UN and FAO to fund some of these ventures. Let us look within,
we actually do have the finances to sort ourselves out.
The set strategy
for creating an ideology according to Situma Mwichabe is quite simple. Whether
we can get it to work is another thing all together.
1. Set, know and internalize a continental agrarian
2. Support + build a Pan-African consensus around
this ideology
3. Educate societies about the ideology
4. Ensure that people are angry enough at the status-quo.

The question though is: do we need another ideology?
A set of systems, beliefs and philosophies to sort out this continent? Is what
is happening around us not reason enough for us to get angry and force our
leaders to do something? Isn’t anger at the status-quo an ideology in itself as well?I think that Africa has a lot of potential to be able to be food secure in the next few years. And no ideology is going to drive us there: foreign or domestic. I don’t think that Africa is lacking philosophical mindset to effect a lasting change.I think that we need to look deeply at what other regions have done in order to achieve unity of purpose in achieving development and food security and see if we need to pick a leaf or grow our own tree. But I also think that more importantly we need to stop out sourcing the responsibility of our problems to development partners, globalization and neo-colonialism. We sell ourselves short. 
**Situma Mwichabe is a Kenyan national that is an experienced development adviser. His interest has been agriculture and the environment for a long time. Some of his work is documented here. He has also written a book titled :’ Environment Problems in Kenya, surviving a spoiled environment.’

One thought on “Ideology: Is that what we need to feed Africa?

  1. Some one that finally sees it the way i always have our level of dependence is crippling us from growing in any sphere even the ones where we should be at the forefront like food production

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