Africans, Woe unto you, ye shall hunger

I am in a sad mood today having just had an argument with someone very close to me and so have been seeing ill portents and darkness everywhere I look. And so this little story on Reuters caught my eye and seeing as I was already feeling kind of messed up, almost reduced me to hot little tears. Yes, I know, it is rather dramatic. It turns out that there is now food being made in factories just for starving Africans. Some of our societies have failed to the point that even food can no longer be taken for granted and charity has become a way of life. Plumpy’nut – made of peanut paste, sugar and a special vitamin – is not being made to feed people in hunger camps, it is being advertised as a charity intervention before starvation really strikes. In other words, preparations must be made for Africans even before they have started starving since it is reliably known that the need will be there sooner or later. “We wanted a product that doesn’t need to be mixed with water and fulfils all nutritional needs; we also believe food should taste good. Maybe that’s a French thing,” says Michel Lescanne, the creator of Plumpy’nut which is made in a ‘picturesque’ village in Northern France. Nutriset, the product’s maker, though formed as a non-profit, has few corporate rivals. With a staff of 50, its turnover is expected to be 15 million euros in 2005, a 50 percent increase on last year. It will produce some 2,500 tonnes of Plumpy’nut that will feed a quarter million children. So there you have it and good luck to them. If African entrepreneurs will not step in to create cheap food products then their countrymen shall either starve or shall provide opportunity for others. African misery is the greatest natural resource in that continent. While people argue about gold and oil, no one notices that there is far more money generated by the humanitarian industry on the basis of African misery than by mining or drilling corporates. It makes me wonder whether Niger has businesspeople at all. See more on Plumpy’nut.

About bulletsandhoney
I read my first book when I was three, then my second one a few weeks later. It has carried on this way for decades with only temporary distractions of eating, fighting, loving, heartbreak and other such irrelevant biographical details.

2 Responses to Africans, Woe unto you, ye shall hunger

  1. Hoots says:

    This post has been added since this morning. Good information to share. I will blog it later (I’m at work at lunch) and do what I can to pass the word, though my traffic is not large.

    I wish I could say something to lift your spirits but at the moment it seems most appropriate to simply say how sorry I am for the tragic state of affairs in Africa. If it is any consolation, several years ago African Anglicans started sending representatives to America, missionaries if you will, because they were convicted that the spiritual poverty here was as bad as the material poverty in Africa. I have had the privilege of being in church with a few people from Nigeria, Ligeria, and some other countries of West Afrtica and I think the African bishops may be correct.

    I don’t know what your background is, but you seem to have the heart of a Christian.

    (The reference in that next post comment to “Gog and Magog” refers to an Apocolyptic refernce in the Book of Revelation, I think.)

    Do come visit my blog.

  2. owukori says:

    I dont know if you are aware of the Global Voices project (
    Anyway I would like to discuss with you about you contributing to posting a short piece on the GV website every week or 2 weeks. Please leave a message on my blog and I will get back to you or email me. ASAP if you can and if you are interested. You would be writing a piece for the left hand column along with about 6 other volunteers from the AFrica region.

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