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Impact of NGOs on Food Poverty

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  • Hans Goder

The Geopolitical of food is the human science that studies all the influences, the interactions, and flux that Food brings on earth on a global or local level. It is a really broad and imperative subject in a world constituted by 7 million mouths to feed. But in this broad subject, a challenge is emerging, the challenge of feeding 3 to 5 more billions people in just 35 years within an industry already showing some weaknesses. This challenge can be seen as a social problem, but also as opportunities for agro-alimentary businesses to increase their production and at the same time their turnover for a fast growing market.

According to A. Maslow’s hierarchy of need published in Motivation and Personality (1970), food and water are part of the physiological needs, the basic needs of a human being. These needs are the needs that a person requires to satisfy to survive on a day to day basis (A. Maslow, 1970). The question of how can we feed the world in 2050 with an increasing population; can be seen as a future important issue for many.

However, in 2014, according to the last numbers of the United Nation Organization, more than 850 million people are enable to satisfy this basic need on earth, while 40% of the production is just wasted in developed countries. This shows us the size of inequality amongst the world.

Moreover, the 29 of October 2014, the Union Nation Organization’s secretary general Ban Ki-moon asked for help from all de members according to the Somalia situation. This country after facing a famine recently in 2011 is on the edge of a new starvation at the moment where nearly 1 million people are surviving in situations close of starvation.Furthermore, according to the NBC news, another country is presently threatened by the food shortage. Ethiopia which already faced a huge starvation in 1992 is now threatened again with 10 million mouths who desperately need emergency food aid.

For P. Timmer expert in the development of countries, in the agricultural economics and the rural development of supermarkets and owner of a PhD, a MA and an AB from of the Harvard University the question of feeding everyone is no more an economic issue but a moral obligation. To him, the problem comes from the fact that the world is subject to an unequal repartition of food and resources and that the care dedicated to that is insufficient (P. Timmer, 2014). To confirm that, a report regrouping the thinking of 300 experts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations staked that one of the main responsible of the hunger in the world is effectively due to a disparity in the repartition of the topsoil. Still according to this report, the increasing demand of food by the word is not only due to the increasing population but also, and on a large part, to the modification of the habits in the developing countries as an effect of the enrichment of the population. The increment of their standards of living increases and diversifies their needs which lead to an augmentation of their needs and wants (FAO, 2009).

To go deeper inside the problem, the article of the FAO concentrate itself on the problem on a short term basis rather than the long term one. According the article, during the past 3 years, we have seen a strong prices increment within the agro alimentary industry. This increase has deeply affected the emerging countries where the population is really sensible to it (FAO, 2009). One of the explanations could be related to the market rules. When the demand increases and the offer stay the same the prices upturn.

During the early 20s, regarding the upcoming issue, in November 2001, a summit was organized by the World Trade Organization (WTO) called the Doha Cycle based on a three years program. The main objectives of this negotiation was the opening of the market regarding the worldwide agriculture business, the free access to industrial products and the removal of the protectionism amongst the countries ( fact that each country protect its borders in different ways according to different products). This summit involved different countries such as the Triade (USA, European Union and Japan) and the biggest agricultural producers, Brazil, India, Argentina and Australia.

These negotiations were declared as a failure in July 2006 by Pascal Lamy, the director of the WTO back then. The reason for this failure was the incapacity of the entire member to come to a common agreement according to all the point stated earlier and the fact that the major actors tried to obtain advantages as an outcome of these negotiations. For instance, one of the big disagreements was between India and the USA (Anon, 2015). The developing country wanted to increase its customs duty if the importations was increasing more than 15% but the USA didn’t want them to do so before 40% (Kumar and Nair, 2009). The 28th of July 2006, the summit was officially suspended without any solution to the matter (Cho, 2006).

Despite this big failure, in 2013, a success has been seen amongst the World Trade Organization with the signature of its first multi-lateral agreement, the Paquet of Bali, which was called the light of Doha. This agreement has, again, as main purpose the question of the world food security (l'OMC, 2013). But according to some economist, this success is to be taken with care as the agreement is not as broad as the previous Doha cycle agreement. Moreover, it has some blind spot as the exportation allowance for instance (Lorot, 2014).

To achieve the millennium challenge and according to the FAO article, one of the solutions would be the massive investment in the agro-alimentary industry of the emerging country. To them, the increase of 60% of those investments would help them to develop their industry and become stronger within the global market. The objective is to develop their productiveness in order to introduce and make them become actives actors of the global market and at the end profit from it. To do so, their objective is to provide decent revenues to the farmers in order to encourage them. This investment should be focus on the entire business field in order to increase their yield (production and distribution). The money engaged could help the development of roads, ports, energies, irrigations and stock management (FAO, 2009). With the same way of thinking the World Bank initiate a program called the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) with an investment of 51 million of American dollars (World Bank, 2013). This program has as main purpose the development of yield in emerging countries by increase the collaboration at a regional level and also by facilitating their access to technologies and innovation in order for them to be more productive (Fidafrique.net). This initiative has shown some positive outcomes amongst the emerging countries of Africa. According to the result statement of this project the outcome was mostly positive and accurate. Through this report, we can see that the releases of technologies are enormous and sometime went over the initial objectives (Banquemondiale.org, 2013). Also, the outcome of this project could be qualified as Satisfactory with an increment of the yield of production in emerging countries (World Bank, 2013).

But according to the article entitled ‘’Le cycle de Doha n'a accouché finalement que d'un accord a minima en décembre dernier à Bali’’ By Pascal Lorot published in ‘’Le nouvelle Economist’’ in 2014 the World Trade Organization needs has to face some issues amongst itself in order to be able to solve other problems. This point of view is also shared by P. Timmer in his article ‘’Ending hunger in our lifetime: Food security and globalization’’. Compared to the world were the WTO was created, the world has changed. The author explains that nowadays all the countries have seen the downside of the globalization and the worldwide market which is in general a contrast of its effect amongst the world. While some of the countries benefit from it, others are put into a difficult situation where they can’t sustain themselves without help by creating a modern and perverse sort of colonialism. Regarding those disadvantages and because of sort of apprehension, countries these days, avoid letting their proper advantages for the benefit of the world market. This fact can be one of the main one that lead to the failure of the Doha Cycle. As the main purpose of the World Trade Union is the ‘’promotion’’ of this unique market it’s actually facing an identity crisis which makes it at some point weak.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation is a part United Nation and deal with the food matter around the world and, also, try to solve them by advising, helping and proposing some strategic plan to the countries facing difficulties. According to their official website, the organism has as main objectives:

  • Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition
  • Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable
  • Reduce rural poverty
  • Enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems
  • Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises

(Fao.org,2015)

Actually, this organization is controversial due to the outcome provided and its cost for countries in difficulty. For instance in 2008, the Senegal president’s state that the effort of the FAO to keep the food price under control has bought them to increase in a faster and more important way. Some global food prices have nearly doubled in the past three years, provoking riots and other protests in Africa, Asia and Latin America (News.bbc.co.uk, 2008). According to a SWOT analysis presented of the official website of the organization these bad result could be explain by different factor. The unpredictability of production yield leave uncertainty amongst the industry which make strategic plan difficult to organize and put into action. Also the lack of communication between the farmers, the association and other player make the coordination hard and rigid between them which weaker the effects and outcomes of any process. Another key factor which is hard to predict is the costumer behavior. For instance, if a country wants to focus of a new market providing a new type of food, it is hard to know with certitude the population reaction according to it. Moreover the investments in this field are poor which limit its outcomes.

In this Master Thesis, regarding the facts stated earlier, and by focusing and frame ourselves on the geographical, ecological, cultural, economic and political aspect, we will try to find out rather or not the non-governmental organizations are still, nowadays, able to provide an effective solution to those issues or on the contrary, do they need to go through some changes on different field in order for them to be not just reactive but also proactive related to the challenges of the whole humanity by 2050.

To do so, we will structure our thought in a specific way. Initially, we will study different articles which are strongly related to the issue and the problematic stated earlier to have a better understanding of the matter and acquire a strong overview of the entire field aimed coming from existing conclusion and ideas from authors. Then, to continue with the understanding of the matter, we are going to have a close look to the different actors of the world according to the angle chosen and their different actions and outcomes. Afterward, we will do a strong and deep analysis of the matter based of the information gathered from the previous part in order to withdraw our own study and conclusion. Finally, founded on the previous conclusion, we will try to sort out the opportunities of the situation and give also some concrete solutions to the matter in order to improve the present solution.

References

  • Kumar, R. and Nair, S. (2009). INDIA: STRATEGIES AT THE DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA- JULY AND BEYOND. Geneva, p.4.
  • World Bank, (2013). Implementation Status & Results Africa West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) (P094084). P094084 - Implementation Status Results Report : Sequence 07. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
  • Simons, A., Irwin, D. and goderDrinnien, B. (1987). he Search for Understanding. New York: West Publishing Company.

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