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Global Growing Campaign

Background: Man-made hunger crises in Africa?

Agriculture is the backbone of societies that are based on the principle of the division of labour (e.g. Europe). Farmers grow agricultural products and sell them on markets. This agricultural produce is either directly purchased for consumption or will be further processed.

In contrast, many African smallholder farmers live primarily from self-grown agricultural crops and livestock. Farmers grow staple food on small fields close to their homes. The agricultural produce is then immediately consumed by themselves and their families and not sold on markets. In the recent past this type of agriculture – which is called subsistence agriculture – led repeatedly to hunger crises. During the last decade different regions in Africa had been struck by hunger crises for several times. Last summer, due to a prolonged period of drought, more than ten million people in East Africa did not have enough food to eat. In 2008, many people were not able to afford to pay high food prices, which were spiking before the beginning of the financial crisis.

The explanations for those recurring hunger crises in Africa are as complex as agriculture itself. For decades different long-term and short-term determinants have gradually worsened the ability of African (subsistence) smallholder farmers producing sufficient food for themselves and the society they are living in.

Long-term Determinants

  • Permanently low crop yields
  • High population growth
  • Depletion of (already degraded) soil
  • Influence of climate change
  • Unresolved issues of property and use rights of land (e.g. problem of landgrabbing)
  • increased demand for agricultural products due to population growth and extended bio fuel production

Short-term Determinants

  • Continuing violent (regional) conflicts
  • Highly volatile regional food prices and generally rising prices
  • Weather induced droughts or floods

Under these circumstances food crises danger the lives of million people in Africa, even though the global food production has grown faster than the world population for a long time.

Many people are not able to provide enough food for themselves or buy food – their income is too low and/or the market and supply infrastructure is weakly developed – and become temporarily dependent on international food aid.

The global growing campaign supports a sustainable transformation of the African agriculture by giving new insights about Sub-Saharan African agriculture to European dialogue groups.

The Global Growing campaign

Global growing provides new insights into Sub-Sahran African agriculture. Events in eight European countries, the global growing website, an agricultural casebook, foto exhibitions and education workshops support the following goals

Our goals

  • show working and living conditions of Sub-Saharan African farmers
  • address problems, challenges and the potential of smallholder agriculture and discuss different approaches of development
  • deliver insights about African agriculture to new dialogue groups – such as young European farmers and young farmers’ representatives
  • initiate and foster the dialogue between different interest groups from agriculture, science, business, politics etc. for the enhancement of African agriculture

How do we achieve these goals...

  • in organising discussion panels that address topics like: innovation in African Agriculture, sustainable organic farming, Agricultural Value Chains and Agri-Business, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), food security, the impact of climate change, etc.
  • in sharing information about Sub-Saharan African agriculture, a fotogallery, newspaper articles, announcement of future events, as well as an agricultural quartet on the global growing website
  • in publishing a casebook with contributions from agricultural experts and agricultural case studies in Kenya, D.R. Kongo and Ethiopia
  • in offering education workshops to students, pupils and young farmers

European and African Partner Organisations

ICU (Italy), ARS (Czech Republic), ICEP (Austria), HID (Hungary), KOPIN (Malta), ONAY (Spain), Pro-Akademia (Poland), SR (Slovakia), CECFOR (D.R. Congo), Emanuel Development Association (Ethiopia), Strathmore Business School (Kenya)

The Global Growing campaign is co-financed by the European Commission.