Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Dear fellow Agents, for the past week or so we have been discussing different ways we can grow enough food to feed the globe sustainably and affordably.

In many developing countries smallholder export horticulture is aleady proving to be a powerful new engine for growth in rural economies. My country Kenya has been one of the quickest to develop as a supplier of air-freighted fresh vegetables from smallholder fields to consumers in Europe. More than a 1 million livelihoods have been created in farm production and a further 3 million in associated employment. Now other African countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia want to follow suit.

However with rising concerns over climate change, consumers, environmentalists and politicians in the developed world are debating whether it makes environmental sense to continue to import foodstuffs with high food miles. The debate on if emissions caused by the airfreight of our fresh produce from Africa v/s this growth in rural economies is HOT.

Please share - are you FOR air-freighting of fresh produce from one country to or another or AGAINST?

Views: 123

Comment by Hayden Darrell Linder on March 19, 2010 at 10:14pm
Breath Lynn. Breeeeeaaaaattthhhhhh.

Sooooooooooooo I'm for it.
Comment by Lim Wei Chiang Bryan on March 21, 2010 at 2:00am
i think it's quite simple. we want fresh, organic food. air-freighting it makes it only organic in nature but not organic in spirit. besides we're talking about food for survival, not exotic foods...
Comment by Bongumusa on March 21, 2010 at 12:25pm
Energy Efficiency and Power House in my blogpost now. I hope you all can comment on it. I will accept any comment because I want to see the world different. I want to get out of the box.
Comment by The Garden Earth Project on March 21, 2010 at 4:31pm
Comment by FRANCIS ORONDO GWER on March 21, 2010 at 5:08pm
the very skewed rationale for seeking to impose carbon prints was not because the developing countries were exporting food while they were food insecure, but coz of environmental concerns,viz the emissions from the planes when freighting the food.
for the case of kenya, our horticultural exports are flowers and fruits. none of these are our staple foods so we can not be compromising food security them.25% of the flowers passing through amsterdam are from kenya and last year this earned our economy close to 1billion dollars.
EU and other developed countries always conjure ways to stifle trade if the terms of trade are not favourable to them. they imposed stringent sanitary requirements on our horticulture and we went ahead and met them. now they are coming up with the carbon prints, and if the kenyan farmer surmounts this, another non tariff barrier will spring up.
down with the food miles
Comment by Rahul Dewanjee on March 21, 2010 at 5:46pm
Absolutely and completely agreeing with Francis Orondo Gwer.

Anybody who is currently involved with making trade happen with Europe like myself will understand what it is like to deal with 27 highly motivated civil servants on the EU Trade side brainstorming every possible way to see that trade negotiations can give them ways to alter the structure(one percent sometimes) of comparative advantage from cost leadership that developing countries have. And now that we have an 'yes we can' government in the United States, almost overnight, people in developing countries are realizing that the picture isn't any brighter across the Atlantic.....so all these phytosanitary requirements are just another way to push the cost of compliance and now with environmental opportunism at its highest level with mass endorsement across Europe, this has been the ideal tactical macro picture for these civil servants from EU engage themselves with a greater motivation to see that Trade do NOT happen. I feel sad and disappointed that Africa is in shambles but I would blame the african leadership for this mess by staying in this delusion that rich OECD governments will save them.

Africa should learn from India and Israel: both believed in their own conviction, planned a course of action and moved in that direction with determination and worked hard towards it. When the British left India in 1947 after 200 years of institutional appropriations that helped them to put 'Great' in their Great Britain in the first place, Indians could not eat one meal a day. In the sixties we had green revolution! India is officially the world's largest producer of vegetables and milk (an incredible feat when you see what not governments in rich OECD countries did to push north their agricultural output) and Israel is perhaps one of the most sophisticated agri-research destinations with capability in executing next generation agro-technologies beyond imagination....and this proves that excuses of resources are not going to solve anything...only resourcefulness will to save Africa: Africans have to help Africa...nobody else can and the truth is outsiders can help when you help yourself...what we will see is little here and little there of private good-willed interventions happening without scalability, reach, penetration capacity and ability to dislocate political complicity to trickle down the effects of all this goodwill that is there in private capacity (read: Evoke agents) but still insufficient if we cannot work with the political institutions in Africa, mobile a strategic dialogue to expose the hypocrisy of the governments of rich countries who are motivated to keep this status quo....

My challenge to Evoke agents: if you really want to solve this crisis of food insecurity for African people, please go back to your own governments and ask them how are they helping Africans trade with things they make. Of course if you believe in global trade and globality of reciprocity rather than charity.
Comment by Rahul Dewanjee on March 21, 2010 at 6:35pm
First let me confess: I truly admire the people of Great Britain as well as the UK Government who gave us a fantastic institutional framework for justice (we have copy to copy UK law in India in 99 percent of cases), administration (our hallowed IAS system is based on UK Civil Services) and national security (will not say).

If you ignore the details, the central theme is: make social innovations that have context. True meaning will come from relevance. Relevant for Africa equals Meaning for Africa.

Now ask yourself: does food miles have meaning for Africa? You'll have your answers.
Comment by Ken Eklund on March 28, 2010 at 12:48am
Hello Shakwei and everyone here: I have thought much about your question, Shakwei, and my answer turned into my Learn2 mission. Much too long to be a comment, you can find it here. I have some thoughts on the question that I don't believe have been covered here as of yet. Thanks for a very thought-provoking challenge!
Comment by Sebastian Uribe on March 29, 2010 at 11:27pm
I can say one or another: personally I don't like problems in terms of mutually exclusive options, as they generally aren't in reality (only our mindset is sometimes trained to think that way). I think that sending stuff very far makes sense if far people cannot make them on their own. The more difficult it is to make something locally, the more reasonable it may be to bring it from farther. That includes taking into account ecological issues. I do think that people from developed countries should take into account that they are the ones impacting the most our planet, so they can not judge developing countries by the same rules, and that might include paying for these goods, or compensating for the carbon footprint themselves.
Comment by Bongumusa on March 29, 2010 at 11:35pm
I tend to sleep without food, I wake up and go to write an Exam, Why I am suffering? Maybe you have a PLAN. IMPOSSIBILITIES=LIFE CHALLENGES.

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