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GTS Potato project. Why do we bother???
The GTS potato project was started to try to help and encourage the Gambian people to start to take control of there own food production. This has become necessary because of the ever increasing cost of food is leaving already very poor families in despair as to how to afford to feed themselves. Food will always be available for those who can afford it, starvation hits only the poorest.
Food prices around the world have continued to rise year on year, faster than other commodities. Wheat prices doubled between June 2010 and January 2011, while corn prices rose 73% in the same period. The hardest hit are the people who spend the largest proportion of there income on food.
Looking at my Tesco check out bill after taking off non food products like washing powder and toilet rolles I spend about 22% of my take home pay (even less of the top line) on food. In the third world’s most families spend up to 80% of their income on food.
Why are food prices rising so fast? The world produces more than enough food to comfortably feed all is population. It is how we use and distribute it, that is the problem.
Natural disaster and global warming only account for a very small amount and nearly balance themselves out in the total amount of food produced. E.g. a wet harvest may diminish the wheat harvest but a bumper crop of potatoes my result.
In my view three of the main reasons for the jump in food prices are the change in eating habits of developing countries, the growing of crops for biofuel and corporate greed, let me explain:-
1/ Developing countries like China and India are eating more meat; 7kg of grain are fed to cows to produce 1kg of beef for human consumption, thus diverting supplies of corn and wheat from feeding people to feeding livestock, the supply of meat has trebled since 1980: farm animals now take up 70% of all agricultural land and eat one-third of the world’s grain.
2/ As oil is running out we are looking for alternative ways to generate energy. Solar, wind and wave power I applaud loudly, but what really annoys me is Biofuel. Last year 107 million tonnes of grain went to “feed cars” that amount of grain could have fed 330 million people or about one-third of the world’s hungry for the year.
3/ Having seen people hungry in the third world I don’t think it is morally acceptable that corporate businesses are allowed to buy millions of tons of food each year at very low prise only to store them until the market prise rises then sell at a profit. Thus depriving consumers of cheaper food.
Without a major political will I foresee that things will only get worse for our friends in The Gambia and the rest of the third world. I titled this posting, GTS potato project. Why do we bother. The answer is simple we bother because we care.
Thanks for this great posting, Ian! I wish more people would really bother!
A great posting, with the new Eco project at Jenu Kunda I think this work will at last have a proper outlet in The Gambia.
Along with the sawdust toilets and composting we hope to show the massive difference that can be made in crop yields and the Potato project is crucial to this.
All along we have said that talking is fine and can we inspirational but seeing is believing - we are so looking forward to the September results and to your visit in March.
I have a graduate who hopes to come out for a year to do work at Jenu Kunda on the local plant and tree species as well as the multitude of wild-life forms that inhabit every square metre of the land in Gambia.
Thanks for the info on 'Holiday Hijack' No one from the show contacted us but then the GTS site has so badly suffered from me being unable to up date it for several years - we are despairing of getting it back in order to reflect what we have been so busy doing for the last 3 years.
But I hope www.TripAdviser.com is helping to keep 'GTS Kololi Lodge' alive on the web - so far during 2011 we have had 20 or so reviews from a wide range of tourists, volunteers and people staying for longer term visits with us and their feedback has been really encouraging.
I am almost recovered from the events of a couple of years back and I think GTS is rising again from those difficult times.