Developing a blueprint for feeding the 20 million people in the world who are starving to death

Zimbabwe once was the breadbasket for the region of southern Africa. Now the country is a net importer of food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What began as a research effort to find out why millions of children, women, and men are dying unnecessarily of starvation in the developing world has now turned into an action plan. There is something I can do. I can help rice farmers in Zimbabwe.

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This is a photograph of a drone cultivating a rice farm in the developing world. It is reasonable to ask whether this kind of high technology is appropriate in a country that is labor intensive.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1976, my research on rice farming in the U.S. began at the Subcommittee on Oil Seeds and Rice in a hearing room of the House of Representatives. In the wake of the Russian wheat deal of 1972, bad weather, and a host of bizarre catastrophes, such as a decline of the anchovy catch–critical in the production of fertilizers–near the coast of Peru, the U.S. and indeed the developed world experienced food shortages. Ever since the end of World War II, surplus was the biggest problem farmers faced. As it turned out, the global shortfall was about three percent. However, fear of the consequences led editorial writers to compare current conditions to the gloomy predictions of Malthus and The New York Times Magazine mused that it might be necessary to prioritize food distribution to the developing world–much as administrators in busy emergency rooms engage in triage–recognizing that large numbers of people might be allowed to die to protect the rest. In 1973, the Secretary of Agriculture embargoed soybean exports to Japan stating, “There might not be enough food left for the American people.”

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As recently as October of this year, when I celebrated my 70th birthday, I still believed the conventional wisdom that the reason people died of starvation in the world was because of poverty and poor distribution. That is no longer the case. Crop failures of high protein wheat in the Dakotas and Canada, hurricanes, floods and fires, suicides among rice farmers in southern India as a consequence of climate change, and most significantly high petroleum prices (oil is the largest raw material used in food production in the developing world) point to an alarming new reality. 2018 may very well be the year that farmers are not able to feed the people of the world. International grain and soybean reserves are not large enough to fill in the deficit.

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When my book The Politics of Food was published, a review on the cover of the Los Angeles Times book section said, “While hardly a cabalist, Joel Solkoff, a respected Washington-based, free-lance journalist whose work frequently appears in various national publications, spent a number of years on this analytic quest. And even if many policy mysteries still remain, Solkoff’s book will edify–and disturb–almost anyone with the slightest interest in U.S. agriculture.”
In the interim, I have been striving to become a “cabalist” working in the Food Group of the General Accountability Office and Congress’s Office of Technology Assistance, publishing in The New York Times, Newsday, the Altoona Mirror, and Pakistan’s Herald Express.

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http://www.joelsolkoff.com/published-in-1994-uganda-election-results/

I have also focused on the problems of Africa–working for a Ford Foundation study on South Africa, being a UN election observer in Uganda. Uganda, according to Filippo Grandi and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has the best refugee camp in the world. Uganda, after the disastrous regime of Idi Amin, has recovered its agricultural productivity.

https://books.google.com/books?id=sq43lnbklEUC&pg=PR10&lpg=PR10&dq=solkoff+south+africa+the+time+running+out&source=bl&ots=asKYi4x6kM&sig=JiIvuMeLfHsUgCDHaCcZMZLpguA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj2vuXB6o7YAhUl8IMKHU_WAmEQ6AEIPzAG#v=onepage&q=solkoff%20south%20africa%20the%20time%20running%20out&f=false

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recent overthrow of the tyranny of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe ignites in me the hope that Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the region, can restore its productivity. I have established a mental bumper sticker: “Zimbabwe or bust” in the hope that I might help the country regain its agricultural productivity especially in rice farming. I am in the process of putting together for my publisher a book proposal that will serve as a blueprint for helping farmers in the developing world reach self-sufficiency–the only solution to the food requirements of the developing world.

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The duck and rice capital of the world – that’s how Stuttgart is known. The town is surrounded by the Arkansas Grand Prairie where the commercial production of rice was pioneered in 1904 and led to Arkansas’s status as the top rice producing state in the U.S. Rice fields and irrigation reservoirs entice the annual migration of ducks and geese on the Mississippi Flyway to linger, making the area nationally renowned among waterfowl hunters. This annual rite of winter is celebrated each Thanksgiving Week with the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival.
https://www.arkansas.com/places-to-go/cities-and-towns/city-detail.aspx?city=stuttgart

First, I am planning a Valentine’s Day return to the First Congressional District of Arkansas– now the largest rice producing state in the U.S. The research I will do there will focus on the assistance Arkansas’s technologically savvy rice farmers can provide to Africa. Of special interest is Riceland Foods–a grain trading operation in Stuttgart where expertise focuses on how to deliver food to where it is needed.

Please donate $18 .—a sum that has spiritual significance as a way of kicking off bold efforts—to what may seem a quixotic effort

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Chai (Hebrew: חַי‎ “living” ḥay) is a Hebrew word that figures prominently in modern Jewish culture; the Hebrew letters of the word are often used as a visual symbol.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chai_(symbol)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No one in the world should die of starvation.

The developed world is currently awash in more food than can be consumed. Yet, 7.8 million people are in danger of starvation in Yemen because President Trump is supplying the Saudis with high technology arms and logistical air support to help kill civilians. Yemen has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam–an incompetent Saudi army is losing to smart and dedicated Yemeni guerrilla fighters. The Saudi response (with U.S. government support) is a de facto embargo of Yemeni ports halting the supply of medicine and food to a population experiencing otherwise unimaginable horror.

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