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About the Author

Mark Grassi
Trainee Journalist, world citizen (Brussels, Belgium)

In the real world, I am involved with Travellingbug, a student-led project to enable sustainable development through microfinance. I recently graduated from the College of Europe and was a stagiaire at the Committee of the Regions in its Sustainable Development section. I am now gaining practical experience of what it means to be a journalist covering a wide range of issues for an online media in Brussels. I love to travel and understand mentalities through languages, something I think is key to reaching a truly effective world deal for our climate. Great to hear your experiences on Th!nk!

Post

Development isnt a uniform concept

Published 21st May 2010 - 1 comments - 2385 views -

'Enough is enough. I am not going to get on my knees to beg for food. Let us grow it ourselves'. Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika had had enough of his country being told how to produce crops after having pioneered the techniques now used in the developed world.

Constantly facing natural disasters, Malawi has often had to succumb to pressures to liberalise its market and end farmer subsidies in return for IMF loans in order to rebuild. Private, trademarked seeds and the only fertilisers that would work with them were offered in the name of foreign intervention. Food production would decrease and food expenditure for locals double. This is because the economy was weakened by decreasing food exports whilst its currency remained artificially pegged up during the 1970s and 80s according to the conditions set by the institution, a technique which can be likened to the 'shock doctrine' of capitalism as conceived by the journalist writer Naomi Klein.

Having recently decided to turn down further IMF loans and revert to subsidising farmers for seeds and fertiliser under a new voucher system, Malawi has experienced a crop surplus for four years in a row and even began exporting maize in 2007. Instead of producing the feed for cattle in the West who's meat it must then import, the country has instead decided to grow its own diet itself. Meanwhile, UN reports signal news of European soil quality and biodiversity worsening, all for short-sighted economic gain for the few.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/24/europe-biodiversity-loss

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/21/un-biodiversity-economic-report

Intensive farming has only led to the destruction of the soil underpinning it altogether, as shall be dealt with in my next blog. When African and other countries seek 'development', they should think of how they want their versions to be different to the mistakes of the current system of world trade. 

nough. I am not going to get on my knees to beg for food. Let us grow it ourselves'. Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika had had enough

 

Constantly facing natural disasters, Malawi has often had to succumb to pressures to liberalise its market and end farmer subsidies in return for IMF loans in order to rebuild. Food production decreased, food expenditure for locals doubled as the economy weakened from decreasing food exports whilst its currency remained pegged up.

'shock doctrine' of capitalism as conceived by Naomi Klein. Private, trademarked seeds and the only fertilisers that would work with them were offered in the name of foreign intervention.

voucher system has experienced a crop surplus for four years in a row and even began exporting maize in 2007.


Category: Agriculture | Tags:


Comments

  • Hussam Hussein on 23rd June 2010:

    Hey Mark,

    thanks for your posts! Please keep posting, I always enjoy reading what you write! smile
    Take care!


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