Discussions on food security very often reveal a total misunderstanding of the real issue. For too long political and economic leaders have thought that the right approach is to produce what we are good at, i.e., sugar, and with our foreign exchange earnings import food – 75% of our consumption. Since the 1980’s, economic globalisation and its Siamese twin, neoliberalism, have become the be-all and end-all of economic thinking and consequently food security is conceived in terms of basic and elementary economic mantras such as ‘Supply and Demand’, ‘Economic Advantage’ and ‘Economies of Scale’.
Shelve you Economics textbooks and try to think otherwise. With GLOBAL BURNING (worse than global warming) and CLIMATE CRISIS (worse than climate change) humanity has to chart a new road to sustainable development in harmony with nature. It’s a simple question of ‘DO OR DIE’. We need nothing short of an agricultural and cultural revolution. What does this entail?
A NEW CULTURE
1. Eat what we can grow. We cannot grow staples such as rice and wheat but we can replace them by breadfruit, jackfruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize, manioc and arrow root. We can make flour with manioc, maize, breadfruit, sweet potatoes etc. You don’t need wheat flour to enjoy your bread, chapati, dalpuri or farata. You only need to be creative. No need to reinvent the wheel. Already, talented Mauritian chefs are offering delicious manioc faratas and galettes.
2. Difficult times have revealed the inventive and creative power of our brothers and sisters in vegetable, fruit and herb production. We can move to a much bigger scale.
3. We must encourage free range animal husbandry in the production of good goat meat, chicken and egg and not promote ruminants which release a lot of methane.
4. We must replant our mangrove forests to improve supply of sea food (fish and crustaceans).
5. Dependence on sugar must be reduced and industrial cannabis promoted. Let the sugar barons drown in their molasses and let us assist small and medium planters to innovate and consolidate reform and food security.
6. An agrarian reform is much needed.
7. Healthy eating must become a national concern. Because of unhealthy eating, 45% of our population are overweight or downright obese and 25 % have diabetes and associated pathologies.
8. WE MUST MOVE AWAY FROM GLOBALISATION TO REGIONALISATION AND LOCALISATION.
WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?
The government in power and the main opposition political parties are ideologically tied to neoliberalism and globalisation and it is futile to expect serious positive actions from them. Lalit and to some extent Rezistans are aware of the urgent needs to change but the admirable people prefer business as usual. Donc, ce n’est pas demain la veille!
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