“Don’t be tempted by green consumerism” Daily Maverick 23.06.2015
My first article for a South African publication: and one of the finest!
“Data from the World Health Organisation show worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014 over 600 million adults were obese. At the same time, here in Sub-Saharan Africa, one person in four is undernourished*. How, then, to improve food consumption and distribution? Through a revolution, says political economist and food activist Raj Patel. GAIA MANCO asks the questions.
Obesity and malnutrition are deadly consequences of the corporate food monopoly, says Research Professor from the University of Texas, Raj Patel. He is also very sceptical of food and agriculture corporations wanting to improve the food system in Africa, as those corporations are the main winners of the current situation.
Although he shrugs his shoulders at the term, Patel is a rock star among social scientists. Both his book ‘The Value of Nothing’ was a New York Times bestseller and he is currently producing a documentary on the future of the food system. He sports such lines in his bio: “He has worked for the World Bank and World Trade Organisation and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them.”
The British-born American academic is also a research fellow at Food First, the Institute for Food and Development Policy, at the University of KwaZulu Natal. In June he visited South Africa, where he presented his research ‘Poverty with added vitamins’ at the Governance Innovation Week at the University of Pretoria. I interviewed him in Pretoria on the whys and hows of changing the local and the global food systems.
Q: You said that our food system is broken. Who broke it? Was it ever working well?
Raj Patel: The reason why I use that language of “broken” is to start helping people understand that we live in a world where there are nearly a billion people who are malnourished and nearly two billion who are overweight. That’s to point to something that’s systemically wrong. Broken is a rhetorical tactic. How is it possible that we have enough food to feed the world and there are so many people that are going hungry? There are so many diseases associated with a poor diet. How is that possible that there is an amputation every 30 seconds as a result of type-2 diabetes?…”
Type: Article -Interview-
Outlet: Daily Maverick
Place: Pretoria, South Africa
Note: featured for several days on the homepage!