Stop Carving up Africa (Manchester WDM with friends)

  Organisations from across Manchester call for an end to land grabs in Africa
Organisations from across Manchester call for an end to land grabs in Africa

Photo: Ali Abbas of Manchester Friends of the Earth

Manchester being the place it is, you can find all sorts of causes and campaign groups through the internet and networks, but fail to interact with them in the integrated way some fondly enjoin groups to do.  So, whilst putting out feelers and finding our inboxes and facebook pages flooded with postings from worthy groups you don’t like to cut out, we ended up using personal contacts and experiences to help us launch the new Agribusiness campaign on a wet Saturday morning in suburban Manchester.   Our photographer and webmaster being kept in by the domestic priorities we turned to our friends in SPEAK and FoE (with whom we have built relationships through the Climate Act and RBS Tar Sands campaign) and they bolstered numbers and took photos. (Thanks Ali for the photos!). 

In his first campaign action with us Eric Mulvihill explained his motivation: “This campaign is important to me because I support small farmers everywhere, for two reasons: firstly my own ancestors were small farmers in the West of Ireland and secondly, we need an antidote to capitalism and small farms are the perfect answer.”

Another member who had spent years living in Africa, and who regularly goes back to Uganda could give personal testimony to reinforce the findings in the report we gave John Leech MP On the Carve up of Africa by large Corporations (see the new campaign at http://www.wdm.org.uk/food).   John Leech gave the commitment: “I’m very happy to support this campaign.  Taxpayers’ money should be going to help the poorest people in Africa support themselves sustainably rather than lining the pockets of rich corporations.  I support the principle that people should be able to grow the food they want.” 

Warm and useful words, for which we thanked him.  Yet we also warned him that we would be behind him (looking over his shoulder) to call on him to convert his words them into more specific action relating to food sovereignty- an issue of interest to his constituents as well as people facing predations from multinationals in Africa.

Stephen Pennells

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