Director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Jose Graziano da Silva looks on during a press conference at the Itamaraty palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 3, 2011.
"AgroDiplomacy: Growing Relations between Latin America and Africa"
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Comments, volume 9, issue 3, pages 12-13
Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
The rising concern over global food price volatility has put agriculture at the center of international diplomacy. But unlike the 1950s when food aid became a major tool in international relations, modern interactions among states are being defined by trade and knowledge transfer. A new field — agricultural diplomacy (AgroDiplomacy) — is emerging as countries learn more about their shared ecological experiences and agricultural trade interests. The prospects for building such relations are evident in the rise in cooperation between Africa and Latin America.
Eastern Africa's longest droughtin nearly 60 years is threatening the region's agricultural gains. The international community is calling for immediate food relief. Although such humanitarian support is needed, the disaster offers the region an opportunity to focus on radical agricultural transformation to stay ahead of future droughts and climate change. The new focus on agriculture is emerging at a time when African countries are revising their foreign policies to focus on economic diplomacy. For example, Kenya has announced plans to start appointing foreign nationals as trade representatives in their countries of origin. This approach will enable Kenya to expand trade relations and technology cooperation with Latin American countries. One of the areas that could benefit from such trade is agricultural products and technology.
As I argue in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, the continent can feed itself in a generation....
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