Sunday, February 01, 2009

Feed the World? Not Likely

Here's a thought. By 2050 it is reckoned that Africa will have added another billion people to the world's population. Speaking as one who is not likely to be around to witness this momentous event and therefore not particular worried about the consequences for myself I am still curious to understand how this could happen.

Billions of dollars continue to be pumped into overseas aid by developed countries (mainly America?) to alleviate suffering from HIV/AIDs, malaria, famine and countless other forms of pestilence and disease. But we are still faced daily by visions of starving children, failed crops, years of drought, violent disputes over the rights to land and internecine genocide. But it never seems to stop these tragedies being repeated again and again.

In the BBC2 Explorer programme tonight on the countries of the Rift Valley the hopelessness of all this was put into stark reality. Are we doing these people any favours when their governments are so incompetent or corrupt that they can let so many people suffer such miserably short lives? For example, we had the contrast of people living in a virtual wilderness herding their cattle in constant fear of attack from other tribes whilst some hundreds of miles to the south broccoli was being cropped for export to the West.

Maybe Dizzy has the right take on this - let Nature take its course. He has a point.