Corporate supply chains and hunger in Zambia

 

green innovation centre
Image credit: African Centre for Biodiversity

 

Last month, the African Centre for Biodiversity published a study “Green Innovation Centre in Zambia: Fighting Hunger through Corporate Supply Chains?” in collaboration with Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. The study takes a look at the Green Innovation Center and its advancement of the Green Revolution.

The One World No Hunger (OWNH) program is a project of the German government, influencing Zambia’s agricultural development. The program’s Green Innovation Center (GIC), with a budget of 266.5 million euros, maintains a project in Zambia implemented by the German Gesellschaft für Zussamenarbeit (GIZ). The aim of the GIC is to provide support for smallholder farmers to integrate into commercial value chains operating at the regional, national, and global scale. GIC partners work with farmers to increase soya and groundnut production in the Eastern province and dairy in the South. They claim that training and connecting smallholder farmers to larger markets will increase their incomes and therefore solve hunger in the region. However, the majority of farmers cannot access these commercial markets, and will not see the benefits from this program. Even for participating farmers, they are negatively impacted by volatile global markets and will be forced to take lower prices due to the size and strength of transnational food corporations like Parmalat (a dairy partner in Zambia).

The Green Innovation Center is pushing for a Green Revolution in Zambia where agriculture is treated as a business and tool for economic development. This is yet another program that claims to solve the issue of hunger by privileging a small portion of farmers to get connected to commercial value chains while ignoring decentralized informal markets. In Zambia, 70% of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods or food access and 80% of the market is informal. Clearly, the solution to hunger will not come from connecting a select few into corporate supply chains. Read more about the work of the Green Innovation Center on the African Centre for Biodiversity website here.

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