President Obama’s announcement today of $3 billion in private investments in a poverty- and hunger-relieving plan for Africa is set to be a boon for giant agribusiness, a move critics say leaves small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods in the dust.
The pledged investments come from agricultural behemoths including Dupont, Monsanto and Cargill.
The G8, now meeting in Maryland, has presented a view of private investments as a way of solving poverty.
“The G8 must not give in to the temptation to make bold and convenient assumptions about the private sector as a development panacea,” said Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America.
Raj Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, argued that a public-sector solution to alleviating hunger is “highly unlikely.” Kripke, however, dismisses that claim.
“There is no evidence that the growing focus on private sector engagement at the expense of other approaches will truly deliver for the fight against hunger,” said Kripke.