Professor: Stop “Colonial” Agriculture, to Save Africa from Starvation and Climate Change

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to Professor William G. Moseley, if we balance the insects just right, Africans can live in happy little climate friendly agrarian villages rather than joining the modern world.

Climate crisis in Africa exposes real cause of hunger – colonial food systems that leave people more vulnerable

Published: December 10, 2022 4.52pm AEDT
William G. MoseleyDeWitt Wallace Professor of Geography, Director of Food, Agriculture & Society Program, Macalester College

Historically smallholder and women farmers have produced the lion’s share of food crops on the African continent. Over the past 60 years, global decision makers, big philanthropy, business interests and large swaths of the scientific community have focused on increased food production, trade, and energy intensive farming methods as the best way to address global and African hunger.

Decolonising African agriculture

So, how did we get here?

Certain countries and businesses profit from productionist approaches to addressing hunger. These include, for example, Monsanto, which developed the herbicide Round-Up. Or the four companies (Archer-Daniels-Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus) that control 70%-90% of the global grain trade

The productionist focus is also engrained in the agricultural sciences. Tropical agronomy, now known as “development agronomy”, was central to the colonial enterprise in Africa. The main objective for colonial powers was to transform local food systems. This pushed many African households away from subsistence farming and the production of food for local markets. Instead, they moved towards the cultivation of commodity crops needed to fuel European economic expansion, such as cotton in Mali, coffee in Kenya, and cacao in Côte d’Ivoire.

Agroecology and the way forward

Agroecologists can offer a different way forward. They seek to understand the ecological interactions between different crops, crops and the soil and atmosphere, and crops and insect communities. They seek to maintain soil fertility, minimise predation from pests and grow more crops without using chemical inputs. 

The fact that agroecological farming is less expensive has not been lost on the business community. They would lose out substantially if conventional farming approaches were no longer associated with hunger alleviation.

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In marginal areas, herders have to keep moving, to avoid overgrazing. This much I agree with.

But what if Africans don’t want to live like medieval peasants, with a little sciency help, for the rest of eternity?

Everyone I’ve spoken to who was born in Africa got out because of the lack of opportunity. I know someone who hasn’t been back for years, because poverty has turned his home into a war zone – returning home for a visit, letting people notice there might be a wealthy person in the family, would expose him and his family to kidnapping risk or worse. And people would notice. Poor people notice everything, their survival depends on it.

Why is Africa like this? Look into the mirror. Our ancestors of hundreds of years ago lived in violent nations full of want and hunger, early death and misery. Kidnapping was so common one of our ancestors wrote a famous story about kidnapping, which has survived to today. If someone living in one of Africa’s trouble spots was dropped into 16th or 17th century Britain, Europe or America, I suspect the insecurity, crime and violence they encountered would all seem very familiar.

“Agroecology” isn’t going to sort out such hellish deprivation. An African industrial revolution is what is needed. Just as the Western industrial revolution saved Western countries from hunger, misery and insecurity, modern agriculture, fertiliser, pesticide, irrigation, high yields and industry is helping Africa follow in our footsteps, and will ultimately help Africans achieve Western levels of prosperity and security.

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John the Econ
December 11, 2022 10:11 am

The real “white supremacy” thrives in Progressive academia.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John the Econ
December 11, 2022 10:51 am

and Martha’s Vineyard- I still laugh when I recall how horrified the Vineyard folks were when Gov. DeSantis flew some illegal immigrants there- the Vineyard flew them out to a military base on Cape Cod

December 11, 2022 10:16 am

I propose Prof Moseley is the first volunteer for this wonderful future

Curious George
Reply to  Paul Homewood
December 11, 2022 10:43 am

He is not progressive enough. Why don’t we go forward to becoming hunter-gatherers again? The Macalester College should lead. Teach how to track deer and turkeys. On the college lands.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Curious George
December 11, 2022 11:57 am

Snowflakes are in season.

Reply to  Paul Homewood
December 11, 2022 10:49 am

Paul, I suspect, when they went to the brain depository for the professor’s brain, instead of the brain from Hans Delbruck (Scientist & Saint), they mistakenly left with one from one of those lizards with speedy tongues, thus his love of bugs.


Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 11, 2022 11:58 am

A lizard named Abby.

real bob boder
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 11, 2022 2:46 pm

Abby Normal?

Reply to  Paul Homewood
December 11, 2022 4:59 pm

I wonder if this Professor has ever traveled to Africa .
I guarantee that if he did he did not volunteer to live in a village cooking over a wood or dung fire for a month as part of his study.
Just one example of the rapid population surge . Somalia a war torn country that had the same population as New Zealand in the 1950s ie 2.5 million and there are now over 16 million inhabitants versus NZ with 5 million.
Africa cannot grow enough food to feed the fast increasing population where as many European countries have a low birth rate that they are not replacing there population .
Where do these academics get these hair brained ideas from .

If he is so clever why does he not launch a fast food outlet featuring insect burgers .
He could have double fly burgers laced with grasshoppers topped with locust sauce .

The world will be feeding Africa for a long time and if it was not for nitrogenous fertilizer growing millions of tonnes of extra food around the world there would be wide spread starvation .
Is this what this clown wants ?

Tom Halla
December 11, 2022 10:18 am

Agroecology is very poorly defined, but seems very similar to organic agriculture, which is but renamed biodynamic agriculture. Both are more mysticism than actually trying to grow food.
Biodynamic agriculture arose out of the pre-WWI German rejection of science, termed grenzwirtschaft, border science. Notably, the NSDAP was very enthusiastic about biodynamic agriculture, with Heinrich Himmler a particular fan.
When something has such a fraught history, and equally poor performance in practice, it is no wonder it keeps getting new names.

Paul Johnson
December 11, 2022 10:28 am

Professor Moseley presumes to have a better understanding of Africa’s energy problems than Africans themselves. That presumption of moral and intellectual superiority is the Woke Man’s Burden and reflects the elitist supremacy that permeates the Climate Crisis cult.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Paul Johnson
December 11, 2022 10:53 am

“Woke Man’s Burden”
good one, I’ll steal it

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 11, 2022 4:22 pm

Me, too!

Reply to  Paul Johnson
December 11, 2022 11:23 am

seems a good place for this. 🙂

December 11, 2022 10:34 am

How quaint. I’m sure that poor, dark people greatly appreciate racist, patronizing advice from first world westerners.

Reply to  Shoki
December 11, 2022 11:19 am

Such advice is only appreciated if accompanied by lots of cash.

Elliot W
Reply to  vuurklip
December 11, 2022 12:09 pm

Not true. Ordinary African people never see the boatloads of cash ostensibly shoveled in their direction. It gets funneled to the elites and so-called leadership.

Rud Istvan
December 11, 2022 10:59 am

Imagine what his poor students are ‘learning’.

December 11, 2022 11:03 am

The Sri Lanka experiment seems not to have made any impression on this academic.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Fran
December 11, 2022 1:30 pm

The numbers from the Climate -Policy-Caused Casualties
‘promised’ at COP26 in Glasgow by the government of Sri Lanka are still mounting many months after the head of state fled for his life, his palace set on fire by angry citizens. 30% of the population is now in extreme hunger and no relief is in site for this bankrupt country.

Dr Wolesley clearly wants to see this happen to a billion people in Africa!

December 11, 2022 11:18 am

This pushed many African households away from subsistence farming

Ah the virtues of subsistence farming, let the whole world return to it. We’ll have to explain to a few billion people why there’s no food for them anymore, but in the interest of a return to the exalted way of living, I’m sure they will throw themselves whole heartedly on the altar of sacrfice.

Last edited 1 month ago by davidmhoffer
Rick C
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 11, 2022 5:11 pm

The trouble with subsistence farming is that when your crop fails you cease subsisting.

David Dibbell
December 11, 2022 11:39 am

“The productionist focus is also engrained in the agricultural sciences.”

I too identify as a productionist, having spent my career in manufacturing. The final 9 years was in support of a rapidly expanding dairy plant. So yeah, let’s focus on more production. We’ll need some shiny equipment, more capacity for reliable electricity, more refrigerated storage, affordable fuel for the new boilers, plenty of water, a new highly effective wastewater treatment facility. We did all that and more. It made a huge difference here in rural NY.

The professor’s condescension is just not right. Africa and other developing areas can choose better.

Jeff Alberts
December 11, 2022 11:56 am

Just as the Western industrial revolution saved Western countries from hunger, misery and insecurity, modern agriculture, fertiliser, pesticide, irrigation, high yields and industry is helping Africa follow in our footsteps, and will ultimately help Africans achieve Western levels of prosperity and security.”

Giving up superstition and the like will also help them greatly.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 11, 2022 8:09 pm

Africa and other poorer countries should be alowed to catch up with all other countries and get their living standards up without having to worry about emissions .
The UN and all the countries that have attended the COP meetings are all acting like colonists.
They are really saying to these countries “You cannot develop your energy supplies for your people as you will exceed the budget of emissions that we have allotted you . ”
Many countries have been accused of colonialism but in the vast majority the original people are much better off in those countries than so many self governing African countries .
Now it is the UN that is holding back development because of the scam of climate change .

December 11, 2022 12:03 pm

This guy has never had a real world job

No idea at all

old cocky
December 11, 2022 12:24 pm

He’s certainly a <something> Witt professor, and I don’t think it’s “de”

Reply to  old cocky
December 11, 2022 12:44 pm

He’s been de-witted

Gary Pearse
December 11, 2022 12:35 pm

“helping Africa follow in our footsteps, and will ultimately help Africans achieve Western levels of prosperity and security.”

For 60 years, NGOs on balance have worked to resist economic development. Some have given assistance in medicine, agriculture, etc., but certainly in my field, mining, NGOs have fought it from the beginning (I was there at the beginning in Nigeria as an employee of the Geol. Survey of Nigeria in mid 1960s and the resistance to mining was already there.)

And crimes against humanity perps like Moseley want to take way cash crops like cocoa and coffee from these people. I hope someone is making a list of these misanthropes so we can lay baked-in casualties at the feet of these fatheads.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 11, 2022 2:26 pm

Marie Antoinette may have lost her head because of her disdain for the peasants, but Marie Antoinetteism NEVER dies.

“Ah yes, the little people. . . This is good enough for them.”

01 Ox cart.jpg
December 11, 2022 12:37 pm

Transnationalism and domestic elitism is the [African] “deplorables” burden.

December 11, 2022 12:37 pm

That is rich when a professor in Minnesota wants to tell Africa how to take care of their land…. when he actually doesn’t care about them.

Len Werner
December 11, 2022 12:37 pm

‘Pushed many African households away from subsistence farming’?? Has this guy ever seen real ‘subsistence farming’? It’s a prime feature of poverty; a shortening of ‘sub-existence’ farming. There indeed are people who practise this in America today; it’s supported by their job in town–probably even some who teach at universities. Or the guy covered in an article on this site who blamed ‘climate change’ for his ‘organic’ farming failure and formed protest groups instead, and then begged for donations to make a living and buy industrial-agriculture-produced food.

The ‘climate colonialism’ image that forms in my mind is of The Good Professor discussing his African agro-ecology brain-child with like minded colleagues at a lavishly catered Sham-el-Sheep style conference banquet, all while gobbling down food none of which any of them produced themselves. Hypocrisy and hubris sure seem to be prime character features of The Woke.

(And I too will be stealing the Woke Man’s Burden phrase, not having seen any intellectual property protection accompanying it. In compensation I promise to use it as often as is appropriate with reference to where I found it.)

December 11, 2022 12:56 pm

Modern day Africa is how the global elites would like all commoners to live – a few chickens, a donkey and some water 5 miles away via bucket – I hope the Africans develop their fossil fuels and related energy sources for decades to come – many westerners may well end up leaving their impoverished homeland to resettle there, particularly if energy is cheap and abundant

Chris Hanley
December 11, 2022 1:08 pm

His twitter page shows the good professor and students enjoying what looks like a non-agroecologist meal in the college cafeteria.
He has a choice, most Africans do not and there is no good reason why not.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chris Hanley
son of mulder
December 11, 2022 1:35 pm

Educate, books and let them decide.

December 11, 2022 1:55 pm

Prof Moseley is promoting silly stuff, using arguments based on undefined neologisms like “productionist” and “agroecology.”

Productionist is clearly used here as a pejorative, as if measuring productivity in output per unit of input, or yield per acre, is soulless and wicked. The traditional pejorative, “colonial,” is used freely as well, without explaining what’s wrong with it.

Colonists swapped crops and technologies back & forth from Old World and New, for best “relative advantage” — one of the oldest principles of economics. Was it wrong to introduce North American maize, or South American cassava to Africa? Was it wicked to introduce Central American cacao to West Africa and develop it as a major export crop?

Was it an ecological crime to plant Australian eucalyptus in Africa? Was it wicked to introduce citrus and bananas into Africa from their native South Asia? Was it an eco-crime to transplant coffee from its native Ethiopia to other parts of Africa and South America? Why?

Prof. Moseley assumes smallholders and women farmers are better at minimizing predation and maintaining fertility without offering any proof. Nor does he explain why African subsistence farmers have adopted foreign crops like maize and cassava. The prof shows a typical Marie Antoinette mindset, by someone who romanticizes Third World peasants, but has no intention of ever living that way.

Agriculture is the oldest, most widespread method of harnessing solar energy, something agroecologists supposedly love. Crop yields are the simplest way of measuring the efficiency of that harness. Here’s a graph showing yields over the last century, and the different rates between regions.

Last edited 1 month ago by tom_gelsthorpe
December 11, 2022 2:01 pm

Calling Dr David Viner…

“The Met Office has issued yellow warning of snow, ice and fog up and down the UK”

What do they mean by snow??? Could it be this weird white stuff falling from the sky?

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  strativarius
December 11, 2022 5:10 pm

Yellow snow?

Reply to  strativarius
December 11, 2022 5:17 pm

> “yellow warning of snow”
Don’t eat it?

Reply to  StuM
December 11, 2022 5:56 pm

Don’t eat snow in the land where the huskies go.

Reply to  strativarius
December 11, 2022 10:05 pm

That was 22 years ago.

I found this beauty from Sceptical science , the biggest warmist apologists

“Global warming cannot be said to cause a specific snowstorm or any extreme weather event for that matter. ”
That’s another claim they now embrace to blame any weather on ‘warming’

Mary Jones
December 11, 2022 2:41 pm

“The fact that agroecological farming is less expensive has not been lost on the business community. They would lose out substantially if conventional farming approaches were no longer associated with hunger alleviation.”

The fact that “organic” food is at least 40% more costly to the consumer than food grown using modern “conventional” farming belies this assertion.

old cocky
Reply to  Mary Jones
December 11, 2022 4:02 pm

The price premium on “organic” food isn’t necessarily because of increased growing costs.
However, organic certification is really only practical on new country which hasn’t previously been farmed.

You can potentially use “organic” growing methods on previously farmed land, but the certification requires either new paddocks or some threshold period (something like 5 years) with documented abstinence from the use of non-“organic” herbicides, pesticides or fertilisers.

December 11, 2022 5:16 pm

In England, before the industrial revolution, there as a lesser-known agricultural revolution. The increase in food production from that is what allowed the industrial revolution to happen. The agricultural practices we have now came out of the agricultural revolution, and are the very practices these so-called experts want to destroy in the name of ‘living in perfect harmony with nature’. Obviously after two thirds of the population die of hunger.

December 11, 2022 6:13 pm

From where do these “whack-jobs” keep coming from? Is there and endless supply?

Van Doren
December 11, 2022 6:35 pm

Why is Africa like this?

Look at the average IQs… There are thousands of mutations determining the person’s IQ. We already know a couple of thousands, and frequencies of those mutations allow us to calculate the average IQ of the nation quite precisely. Therefore, we know the differences are genetic, and nothing short of genetic engineering can change this.

old cocky
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 11, 2022 8:49 pm

The IQ tests I took in primary school back in the Jurassic assumed all the students were at the same educational level. Limited schooling will make quite a difference in the results, no matter the extent of problem solving ability.

Van Doren
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 12, 2022 9:48 am

As I said, the calculated genetic score is highly correlated with the measured IQ.

Reply to  Van Doren
December 12, 2022 10:22 am

“As I said, the calculated genetic score is highly correlated with the measured IQ.”

Well argued VD, after all, everybody who’s nobody realizes correlation is exactly the same as causation.

How would you recommend genetically engineering the plethora of modern, non-African profs in academia arguing, e.g., CAGW, or that biological men are really biological women if they so desire and vice versa, etc?

Maybe we need to lower their IQ’s? Is that the solution?

Reply to  Van Doren
December 12, 2022 8:55 am

“Look at the average IQs…”

Right, ingeniously argued with Rushtonian antilogic VD. I know how much IQ means to me when I think of modern woke academia, Michael Mann et al., etc.

What say you? Just how precisely does your brilliance know every bound?

Mr Ed
December 11, 2022 8:57 pm

Agroecology.. Is that what took place in Zimbabwe when the white
farmers were forced off the land 20 yrs ago? Mugabe theb reversed course
and brought back the white farmers forced off their land and gave them a$3.5
Billion dollar settlement. Why did that happen?

I’ve toured east central Africa and it’s an amazing
place. The Maasai live off the land and endure situations that
are so difficult it’s hard to imagine. The women tend to the crops. I saw
them in the fields near dark and was told that they were protecting the
crops from the baboons. Hundreds of these women are killed every year
by large cats while doing this…. Professor Moseley should stop telling
these people what to do and go over there and show them and get back
to us.

Pat from Kerbob
December 11, 2022 10:43 pm

It’s stunning and sad that someone could write this down for distribution and most probably feel like they are doing Africans a favor.

This guy should be one of the first to stand trial in the climate change POLICY crimes against humanity trials that will have to be held in the poorest African country.

December 11, 2022 10:58 pm

If Prof Moseley thinks this is such a good thing, then he should live like that. Alternately the graceless, racist fool needs to recognize that Africans have the same human rights to choose how they live as he does. They just don’t have the same opportunity but certainly grab it when they can. What is it about academics that they believe they have inalienable rights to denigrate the rest of us about lifestyles we choose.

December 11, 2022 11:19 pm

Let’s be honest, rising productivity and prosperity, and the accompanying lower birthrates are the only things that will save Africa’s remaining wildlife and habitat.

The grinding poverty, which starts with energy poverty, will cause Africa’s masses to consume all of Africa to feed itself.

Poverty is the most anti-enviromentalist force there is.

Peta of Newark
December 12, 2022 2:23 am

The soils of most of Africa are very ancient and highly eroded – all their trace element goodness and their micronutrients are at the bottom of the oceans surrounding the place.

Going in there with all your hi-tech fertilisers, herbicides, GMOs and whatever else will result in the entire continent becoming One Huge Great Fug-off Saharan Desert.
Also ponder, can the Good People of Africa (each & every man/woman/child) afford a $20,000 annual medical bill if you did?

(simply) do something to fix the soils –
recover those nutrients from the continental shelf or find some black-coloured rock from wherever it occurs, grind it up and scatter it around
It will fix Africa, fix the climate and it will make the people happy, healthy and in whatever way they want to measure it: Rich
There are No Downsides.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Andy Pattullo
December 12, 2022 9:26 am

Undeserving of the title Professor, this anti human imbecile thinks that pushing Africa back into medieval starvation and privation is something he can present as a good thing for all. He seems to think that using increased agricultural production to reduce hunger and provide new opportunities to flourish is only for wealthy westerners. Let him try living the life he is prescribing for Africans and he can gift his lavish and comfortable lifestyle to some of the many refugees his policies will create..

December 12, 2022 4:29 pm

Wow. Who is this stupid piece of shit? And why has no one beaten it to death with a 2×4 yet?

December 13, 2022 6:39 am

Someone needs to play “Angola” by Ambrosia over and over to this person.

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