We, of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), are alarmed by the famine in South Sudan and the grave food insecurity affecting Somalia, Yemen and north-east Nigeria. United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres’ announcement last February 22 of the world’s first famine since 2011 should raise the alarm over the food crisis in the said countries.
We are expressing our concern for and solidarity with the farmers, indigenous peoples, small-scale food producers and peoples in the said countries.
We welcome and support the UN’s call for humanitarian assistance in the said countries. At the same time, we are calling attention to the root causes of these food crises in the colonial and neocolonial plunder of the said countries which was exacerbated by neoliberal economic policies and buttressed in recent decades by US militarism.
We are calling for an end to US-led militarism in the said countries, which is a step towards attaining long-term solution to food insecurity. Without efforts to end US militarism and address the root causes of the food crises, humanitarian assistance becomes a mere palliative aimed at soothing the worst effects of US militarism and colonial and neocolonial plunder.
It is simply unacceptable that the UN needs to call for US $5.6 billion in humanitarian assistance this year to be able to ease starvation in the said countries even as the US and other military powers continue to pour huge amounts into the military-industrial complex benefitting monopoly capitalists there. US President Donald Trump has of late been vocal about such moves.
- South Sudan is embroiled in a conflict because of the US’ efforts to oust its president in order to deny China access to the country’s oil.
- Somalia continues to be ravaged by the effects of the Ethiopian army’s military invasion and occupation, backed by the UN, in 2006 supposedly aimed at countering terrorists which has already caused the starvation to death of some 250,000 Somalis.
- Nigeria is suffering from the onslaught of Boko Haram, a terrorist group which was strengthened by the US-led war in Libya and further strengthened by US militarism in Africa. Observers say the US has nothing to lose in destroying Nigeria because the country’s government has moved closer to China in recent years.
- Yemen, in which 8.3 million people will be given humanitariant assistance, is wracked by a war which was led by Saudi Arabia with the help of the US and the United Kingdom and which was launched on the dubious pretext that the Houthis, who took the country’s capital in 2014, are proxies of Iran.
The famine in South Sudan and the severe food insecurity in Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen also highlight the destruction of food systems and other disastrous effects of climate change due to global warming. These food crises further demonstrate the urgent necessity for the US and the world’s economic and political powers to take decisive actions to reduce carbon emissions and to address the problem. These could only emphasize that Trump’s denial of climate change bodes ill not just for the farmers and people of Africa and Asia but of the world.
We are calling on the farmers, indigenous peoples, small-scale food producers and peoples of the said countries to unite, struggle against US militarism, and fight for national economic and food sovereignty. Only with the attainment of the latter can they truly end starvation, food insecurity and foreign control over their countries.###