Neoliberals capture South African smallholder farmer support policy

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Ideological and factional divisions and contradictions between neoliberals, ‘patrons’ and progressives have manifested in South Africa’s smallholder farmer support policy. This was evident at a national stakeholder consultation held by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in April 2019.

The policy is meant to support marginalised producers. But it has been thoroughly captured by neoliberals under the banner of the National Development Plan (NDP). The Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) – which is based on the NDP – lists focus crops and products defined by commercial potential, with emphasis on global competitiveness, export markets, value chain integration, and public-private partnerships. In this framework, state and capital work closely to reproduce capital-intensive production models.

Cyclone Idai’s warning – Shift to agroecological systems that work with nature or suffer more devastation

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Ranked as one of the worst tropical storms on record to hit Africa, Cyclone Idai made landfall in Beira on Thursday 15 March, before lacerating its way across central Mozambique and then on towards neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Heavy rains, flooding and storm damage has resulted in devastation on a vast scale. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, while the death toll continues to rise. ACB Board Chair, John Wilson, who lives in Zimbabwe, travelled through the lowveld part of Chimanimani, one of the hardest hit districts. Here are his reflections.

Urgent call for African food sovereignty movements to connect with radical feminist movements on the continent

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This article was first published on the Inter Press Service Agency, News Agency on March 8, as part of its coverage of International Women's Day.

Africa is facing dire times. Climate change is having major impacts on the region and on agriculture in particular, with smallholder farmers, and especially women, facing drought, general lack of water, shifting seasons, and floods in some areas. Small holder women farmers are at the cold face of agricultural biodiversity erosion, deforestation, declining soil health and fertility, land and water grabs by the powerful, and loss of land access, marginalisation and loss of indigenous knowledge, and generalised lack of essential services and support.