‘Our stomachs will make themselves heard’: Sankara on food justice today

Amber Murrey
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Interesting review on negative effects of food-aid

Earlier this week the international NGO, Save the Children, reported that the food shortage in the drought-affected Tigray and Afar regions of northern Ethiopia has reached critical proportions. Of the 30 million people living in the region, according to UNICEF and the Ethiopian government, one third of them—some 10 million people—are in need of emergency food assistance. The US government is now coordinating food aid and relief efforts, announcing last month that it would supplement $532 million for emergency food assistance, safe drinking water and nutrition.SANKARA_0

Yet, direct food aid is often destructive, particularly in the long-term, for those on the receiving end. Historical examinations of famine and the aftermaths of crisis response have shown that direct food aid, rather than reducing hunger, actually suppresses local food production and distribution systems. This market suppression, in turn, contributes to the structural inequalities that sustain uneven food distribution. Uneven food distribution within the global circuits of capitalism is at the heart of modern-day hunger.

The current drought in northern Ethiopia echoes the 2005/06 drought in the Somali and Afar Regions as well as the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region—precisely because endemic, cyclical food shortage is a product of uneven economic development and is further compounded by anthropogenic climate change.

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