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Is There a Relationship Between Population Growth and Hunger?

Touch the Soil News #833 (Feature photo – NASA Earth Photo) Over the past few months, global food experts have been unnerved by the increase in the number of starving/undernourished people. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome recently reported that from 2015 to 2016 an additional 38 million people were added to the ranks of the starving. This brings the total number of starving from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million at the end of 2016. What will 2017 bring? In the midst of the news about rising hunger, Africa has emerged at the focal point. Over the past 25 years, the number of…

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Africa’s Richest Man – To Be World’s Largest Farmer?

Touch the Soil News #751 (feature photo – Aliko Dangote – photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum CC SA 2.0) In the U.S. today, when farmers look to buy land to expand, they generally buy a retiring neighbor’s farm. Mostly they are parcels of a few hundred acres. A one (1) thousand acre parcel would be considered large purchase. The largest farms in America are in the 20,000 to 40,000 acre range with a few that can be larger. Expanding his stake in the farming scene is African billionaire Aliko Dangote (age 60). Forbes estimates that Dangote has an estimated net worth of $12.5 billion, which puts him within…

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Is Santos Selling Out his People?

Touch the Soil News #716 (feature photo – Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos – CC SA 3.0 Brazil) Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is leading his country into what could well be the largest farmland transaction in human history. Santos has been accused of leading one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa by ignoring the economic and social needs of Angola. Santos is also accused of focusing his efforts on amassing wealth for his family and silencing his opposition. While Santos occupies the Presidency of Angola, corrupt regimes usually engage many people who have simply learned and adopted corruption from their predecessors. Angola sits along the West…

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The Cyclops of Farms Rears Its Head

Touch the Soil News #538 (feature photo a Cyclops statue in the Natural History Museum of London by Deror Avi) It is difficult to grasp the magnitude of a secretive farm project for which details are often lacking. The size, scope and potential disruption of this project brings to mind the Cyclops of antiquity. The project between the governments of Japan, Brazil and Mozambique – called the ProSavane – has been in the works since 2011. The project plans to mimic a large project in Brazil in which Brazilian agribusinesses will replicate industrial mono-culture farming in Mozambique. Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world…

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Community Land Rights (food) – The Global Powder Keg (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #424 (Feature photo courtesy of HELVETAS) While much of the land rights issues and violations are taking place in third world countries, giving voices to indigenous people and their cause is coming from powerful first-world social activist organizations. Following is information on the five (5) international non-profits who are organizing the first International Community Land Rights conference in Stockholm in 2017. The Rights and Resources Initiative. This organization is a global coalition of 13 core partner organization and 150 collaborator organizations directly engaged in land and forest policy reforms (This organization carries material international clout). International Land Coalition. This organization is a coalition of 152 organizations…

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Is America Missing Out on the Ultimate Reality Shows?

Touch the Soil News #352 When was the last time you watched a television series designed solely to teach you urban food growing methods and how to eat better – the ultimate reality show. Believe it or not, there is a global growing awareness of how industrial nations have deteriorated in their nutrition and food. So low and so prevalent is the deterioration, that emerging nations in terms of economics and industry are leapfrogging over the industrial food model. They are moving directly to local and grow your own models. The following video clip is about an upcoming grow-your-own-food reality program in the Southern African continent. The program will entail…

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India – Onwards to Africa for Food

Touch the Soil News #307 From abroad, the Press Trust of India published an interesting story. In a recent public statement, the minister of agriculture in India – Radha Mohan Singh – admitted that India just can’t feed itself on its own. Singh revealed that India must import about 5 million metric tonnes of pulses (beans, lentils and peas) and about 14 million metric tonnes of edible oils (palm, coconut, canola, soybean and sunflower). Together that’s about 19 million metric tonnes (2,205 lbs.) of foodstuffs. 19 million metric tonnes is equal to roughly 45 billion pounds of foodstuffs – roughly 35 lbs. of food per person in India. . Radha…

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The U.S. Versus Kenya – Which is the Most Food-Progressive?

Touch the Soil News #275 Recently the news conglomerate All Africa, published an article on kitchen gardening in Busia County, of Western Kenya. Kitchen gardening is the practice of raising leafy greens, vegetables, fruits or herbs in close proximity to the kitchen. The reason for the resurgence of home gardening stems around three things – health, income from extra produce to sell and its becoming “vogue” to do so. Timely rains and some irrigation infrastructure allows most kitchen gardeners to raise crops year-round. Local governments, NGO’s and non-profits are contributing to the success of kitchen gardening through training of crop husbandry, organic methods, and sustainable practices. In addition to kitchen…

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African Agriculture and Tongue Twisting Financial Mumbo Jumbo

Touch the Soil News #237 Not too long ago I heard a successful entrepreneur explain how you get wealthy – you need to own the company! Venture capitalists understand this. In the least, venture capital understands it needs to control enough of the company to siphon off “exciting” levels of return on investment. As significant portions of “exciting” profits are withdrawn, how much is left for the entrepreneur, working people, suppliers and the community? Rice Farming in Africa. African agricultural assets are being viewed as key to global investor profits. Africa is hungry for capital – borrowed or from investors – it’s all the same. To package the language so…

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Drama in Africa – Target of Global Agricultural Investors

Touch the Soil News # 159 In a recent 2015 special report called “The Journal of Peasant Studies” the focus is on Africans being dispossessed of their land as global interests swoop in to control farmland and all things agricultural. The report finds that in many situations, foreign investors want to invest in projects, but don’t want to engage with the locals who have undocumented control of the land. In the United States, title companies keep meticulous records of ownership, title transfers and accurate legal descriptions. In many African nations, particularly in rural areas, ownership is often one of possession that may go back several generations. Hungry for cash or…

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