Eat less meat, waste less food

Westminster’s International Development Committee published its report today on Global Food Security.

Good to see them recommending more help for small famers throug extension services (that could work in Scotland too) and a
‘focus on sustainable systems such as pasture-fed cattle rather than on grain-fed
livestock. ‘

The committee also recommends that ‘the Government set targets for food waste
reduction for producers and retailers and introduce sanctions for failure to meet the

It would be good to see Scottish Government moving forward along these lines – less and better meat, and more of that from the grass we can’t eat rather than the grain we can.. and we definitely need targets for food waste from retailers and others further up the chain – we can’t just use homeless people to clean up our wastogenic system.

We’re not so keen on the committee’s whole-hearted support for the New Alliance for Food security and Nutrition. The productionist approach is very attractive to government and business – but the problem is not a lack of food – but, as someone wryly commented at Take One Action last weekend, there’s someone with a gun standing between poor people and the food.  (In Scotland, the store guards aren’t armed (yet) )

Here’s what War on Want say:

The New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition is a private sector investment initiative launched by the G8 in May 2012. Its objective is to open up African agriculture to multinational agribusiness companies by means of national ‘cooperation frameworks’ between African governments, donors and private sector investors, with no reference to the needs or wishes of African farmers. Companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, Diageo, Unilever, Yara and DuPont have signed ‘letters of intent’ to engage in the New Alliance, and six African governments (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania) have signed up to national cooperation frameworks agreeing to far-reaching policy reforms in favour of private investment. Four others (Benin, Malawi, Nigeria and Senegal) are expected to sign up to the New Alliance later this year.

The New Alliance has been modelled on the ‘new vision’ of private investment in agriculture developed by management consultants McKinsey in conjunction with the ABCD group of leading grain traders (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus) and other multinational agribusiness companies. Government officials have acknowledged that most of the content in the national cooperation frameworks has been taken from other corporate initiatives such as AGRA (the Alliance for a New Green Revolution in Africa) and the Grow Africa investment platform of the World Economic Forum. DFID has announced that the UK government will be contributing £395 million to the New Alliance over the coming three years.

There have been many strong critiques of the New Alliance from civil society in Africa and Europe, in view of the unprecedented powers it offers multinational agribusiness companies and the significant threat it poses to small-scale farmers in Africa.