Food security has become an important theme in efforts to alleviate the effects of poverty in today’s aid and development community. The challenge of providing a sufficient supply to meet the rapidly increasing demand continues to make headlines and became one of the primary agenda items for the G8 summit meeting hosted by President Obama in May 2012.
Nowhere is this challenge more acutely felt than in the developing world, where many countries are dependent on other countries for as much as 50%-80% of basic food needs—often at significantly higher prices. Without food security these developing regions become trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, dependency, and aid.
Yet more often than not, this problem is not caused by a lack of natural resources. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone almost 25% of the world’s arable land is found. This is high quality land with ideal climates and enviable water resources. If these resources were developed with modern-day sustainable commercial practices and technology, Sub-Saharan Africa would be well-fed and an exporter of food. Yet today the region cannot feed itself, as less than 20% of the land is in production, mostly through subsistence farming. With no access to quality seed, basic equipment, agricultural inputs and financing, subsistence farmers are unable to produce yields that could transform their own existence and their nation’s future.
This must change, and it will change
Sub-Saharan Africa has twice as much potential farmland per capita than the US, yet these nations are forced to import over half of their food. Without food security and the ability to transform African economies into net exporters, relative economic and political independence means very little.
Current aid-based programs—no matter how well-intentioned—have created a level of dependence and systemic poverty that is unimaginable in the west. In short, emergency relief that turns into long-term aid has proven to be the biggest hindrance to the goal of sustainability and eventual prosperity.
There needs to be a fundamental rethinking as to how to move African economies to independence. Using proven techniques and the capital markets, to leverage their own resources African people can indeed enjoy food security, economic progress and even play a part in solving challenges in the rest of the world.
Developing and managing large scale commercial crop farms transforming agriculture in the developing world.
Convinced of the transformational power of the marketplace, Aslan’s mission is to develop and manage large scale commercial crop farms transforming agriculture in the developing world. Only then will the problem of food security be addressed and solved.
Aslan uses a “Hub-Outgrower Model” which serves as a ‘catalyst’ to inspire change and a ‘conduit’ that delivers the technology, inputs, mechanization, financing and a transparent market that rewards all farmers for diligence and planning.
Aslan’s extension program aids farmers in making the jump from subsistence to the commercially viable yields that can move them into middle-class. The transformational power of this model is designed to ultimately help move Sub-Saharan Africa from a state of food-dependency to becoming significant contributor to the global food supply.
And, by focusing on a solid, for-profit model, the correct signals are sent to the appropriate capital markets whose participation is necessary in order for Africa to help feed the rest of the world after providing for their own food security.
It is clear that without significant improvements to methods of food production in developing nations, there is no virtually no chance for sustainable economic growth in these countries. That’s why, since 2004, ASLAN and its leadership has been actively using agriculture to address the physical, social, and even spiritual needs of people in extreme poverty and crisis in Eastern Europe and now Sub-Saharan Africa.
Moving Africans from poverty to middle class by pursuing market-based solutions to the challenges of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Aslan’s vision is ultimately to address poverty through the market place. Aslan is currently operating in Mozambique and Tanzania where better than 80% of the population live on less than $2 a day. Only market based solutions will change that. Through commercial agriculture a sustainable economy can be built. Job creation, transparent markets, real value addition, and the promotion of individual entrepreneurship are just some of the benefits that Aslan’s commitment and strategy will bring to these countries. Through the creation of real jobs the future of many Africans trapped in poverty will be transformed. By becoming commercial farmers themselves, finding jobs in other parts of the agricultural sector, or bringing other skills to an economy that has moved past subsistence to disposable income, African’s will be able to transform their livelihood. Through the market place a middle class will be built, that in turn will participate in the transformation of the continent. Simply put, Aslan’s vision of moving African’s from poverty to middle class is captured in the company’s slogan:
“Changing Lives Through Farming.”