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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 2, No. 1, 2002
Bioline Code: nd02002
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2002

George Kent


Advocates of globalization favor market liberalization and export-oriented agriculture. They favor large-scale operations with high levels of mechanization. For the advocates of globalization, the basis of food security is wealth, and the possibility of obtaining food from diverse sources through the open market. The critics see the intensive penetration of goods and capital from outside into poor countries as another phase of neo-imperialism, a thinly disguised instrument for the exploitation of the weaker peoples of the world. Many critics of globalization want to limit both export and import of foods. They favor small-scale enterprises and local production for local consumption. They advocate diets that are simple and natural, and depend to a large degree on home production rather than on the marketplace. For the critics of globalization, the basis for food security is self-sufficiency. We can understand the division between globalization's advocates and its critics in terms of two connected points: markets do not benefit everyone equally, but are beneficial mainly to the rich and powerful, and strategies of self-sufficiency do not benefit everyone equally, but are beneficial mainly to the poor and weak. This explains why the strongest advocates of free markets are the rich, and the strongest advocates of self-sufficiency are the poor and their friends. Strategies of self-sufficiency protect the weak from potentially exploitative relationships with those who are stronger. Poor countries must build self-sufficiency in order to be able to engage in the global market place from a position of strength. They can begin by assuring their food sovereignty, and thus reduce their vulnerability. African and other poor countries must build up their capacity to say no to the forces of globalization, because only then will it be safe for them to say yes.

globalization, trade, markets, exports, self-sufficiency

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