Up side down planning and priorities

I am just reading the project design and surrounding document for GAFSP (the global agriculture and food security program) in Sierra Leone  http://www.gafspfund.org/content/sierra-leone. The projects specific job in Sierra Leone is ‘$50 million for agricultural productivity growth through technology adoption and water management’. Already my whiskers are twitching at the assumption that ‘technology’ is a solution, and that it need be ‘adopted’. As Paul Richards work points out it denies the possibility of technologies having evolved in-situ; autochtonous technology.

Some interesting paragraphs (source http://www.gafspfund.org/gafsp/sites/gafspfund.org/files/Documents/sierra.pdf):

The root causes of bad management of natural resources include: insufficient knowledge of sustainable land use practices and effects of deforestation; lack of incentives for sustainable land use practices; weak agricultural extension services; weak policies, laws and regulation for environmental protection (e.g. Environmental Impact Assessment); insufficient enforcement of existing regulations, weak land governance, etc.

So I looked at the governance section to see what was proposed to remedy this so called weak governance. In essence good governance means no corruption amongst those with lesser power, weak governance means corruption amongst those with lesser power. You can see the problem with this. The rest of the statement is pure conjecture.

The main objective of this assignment will be the development of an 

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study to integrate Environmental and Socio-environmental Considerations in the Planning and Execution of the GAFSP.

I find it somewhat interesting that environmental and social aspects of this project are to be integrated ‘into’ the actual project. I mean ‘food’ is not an aim. Food is part of our social and fulfilled lives, and food is a part of the environment (I am simplifying quite a lot into this sentence but nonetheless). So how are these things separated and then subordinated to food production?

A whole project whose aim is increasing the amount of rice in the world that can be “transferred” away from its growing source easily, with social and environmental well-being of the people involved being secondary “impacted” factors that they are “legally” bound to deal with (that doesn’t even consider whether they are actually dealt with, and the negative results of dealing with them as secondary factors).

Of course growing food is important but ‘it should be integrated into the social and environmental well-being of the people, the environment where it takes place, and then that of everyone else’ rather than these being integrated into the increase production and transportability of rice. Upside down planning.

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