Jeez, these people just cannot stop with the cant, can they?
All the women belong to the Wapsala Association, a 33-strong agricultural collective created to boost local smallholders, ensure a steady, year-round, supply of high-nutrition foodstuffs in an area prone to chronic shortages, and help end the curse of malnutrition that affects about 44% of all Mozambican children under five.
The Wapsala project is seen by some Mozambican nutrition experts as a paradigm to be emulated in similarly disadvantaged areas of the country and other parts of southern Africa.
The collective’s approach, rooted in public and international funding, contrasts sharply with the prioritisation of private-sector investment, as proposed at the recent G8 summit.
Instead of perpetuating the western focus on food security, the farmers of Wapsala provide a working alternative – what Graciela Romero, the international programmes director of War on Want, calls food sovereignty: a move to promote agrarian reform that favours small producers and the landless, and emphasises local markets and self-sufficiency.
OK, so we’ve got all the buzz words. Cooperatives, self sufficiency, food sovereignty, local markets and it’s very much anti private-ector investment.
And what is it that they actually want to do?
“We would like to process other people’s cassava but we have no capacity,” he said. “The South Africans want dried cassava and cassava leaves. Market demand is high but we cannot supply it. We are also expanding our nursery business with trees and other plants – they expand our fruit production. But we are limited due to lack of water. It costs a lot to dig a borehole. The nearest is two kilometres away.”
They, err, want investment so they can export. You know, undermine someone else’s food sovereignty?
So, leaving aside the cant what they’re actually doing it trying to create a community of yeomen farmers who trade in local and regional markets. Not a bad idea at all but entirely different from that cant being spouted.