Friday, May 01, 2009

MayDay In Trade

Watching the BBC reminds me of the old onus attached to 'being in trade' that we encountered in literature that dated back to the early days of British studies by U.S. kids. I love hearing that 'trade' is involved in the concept of business, the exchange of commodities rather than accumulating mere symbols of stuff and of work.

In agricultural realms, that concept is beginning to be more relevant than our present day money manipulation. The basics of sustenance may be growing in importance as the 'financial' business shows that we've lost values, and lost the relationship between work and living.

CAADP is an African-owned and growth-oriented agricultural development framework that has been endorsed by African heads of state as the engine through which Africa's agricultural development will be driven. With the majority of African governments spending on average less than 5% of total national budgets on agriculture, one of CAADP's key objectives is to increase this to 10%, with the target of raising agricultural productivity by at least 6% per annum. Achieving Africa's agricultural growth requires massive investments from the global community and the on-going global financial crisis poses a threat to Africa's efforts.

Over the past generation, agriculture and farmers have been sidelined in international policy circles. During this time, agriculture's share of total aid has dropped from 17% to 3% of total spend. As a result, productivity is low. While total aid to sub-Saharan Africa remained stable during the 1990s, the proportion allocated to agriculture declined year on year. Aid to agriculture in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states declined as a proportion of total aid from 20% in the early 1980s to 8% by 2000. If poverty in Africa is to be reduced, aid to agriculture must be increased substantially and made to work more effectively.

The G8 agriculture ministers, who met for the first time last weekend to discuss the world food emergency, have done well to recognise the role agriculture plays in the success of a broader development agenda.
The time is right to bring about much needed policy reform to address the stubborn and widespread problems that have crippled African agriculture and rural economies.

Implementation of programmes under CAADP is critical for reducing hunger and achieving the global priorities expressed in the Millennium Development Goals.

The ignorance we've arrived at from long progression away from basics like the value of work and sustenance is betrayed in our failures in the third world. It's come home as we see the neighboring countries of our world leave us behind in their social conscience, and in the development of their economies for participation by everyone. The age of the conquistador is ending badly for us, unless we can find our way back to values we've lost, it would seem.

Watching the worldwide rejection of our financial industry's failure to value humanity on this Mayday, I am hoping for a new rebirth of basic economy that allows us to live, not abuse.

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