Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

polly7

(20,582 posts)
Tue Jan 14, 2014, 02:44 PM Jan 2014

How Bill Gates Is Helping KFC Take Over Africa

The Gates Foundation and USAID are helping the Colonel's African expansion, perhaps at the expense of local farmers.

—By Alex Park

Fri Jan. 10, 2014 10:41 AM GMT


A KFC in South Africa kool_skatkat/Flickr

There are currently more than 750 KFCs in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost all are in South Africa, where they sell as much as 10 percent of the nation's commercially grown chickens. Now the chain's parent company, Yum Brands ("the defining global company that feeds the world&quot , is in the midst of a major expansion northward, with plans to sell drumsticks in Senegal, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

KFC's target is Africa's surging middle class, which is expanding both in numbers and weight. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, poultry consumption in sub-Saharan Africa will increase 270 percent over its 2000 levels by 2030. Much of this growth is being fueled by urban, middle-class consumers who have embraced fast food, which often costs more than street food or other local fare, as a status symbol.

Yet the Colonel isn't venturing into to Africa alone. He's getting a boost from the US government and Gates Foundation—all in the name of food security and helping Africa's small farmers.

In order to grow, KFC and other fast food brands require a steady supply of chicken that's up to their particular standards. That may be a tall order for Africa's small chicken farmers. In Ghana, for instance, local chickens are failing to meet the company's demands for quality. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Ghanaian farmers are not "professional enough" for KFC, forcing franchise owners to buy costly imports.


Full article: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/01/kfc-africa-chicken-usaid-gates-foundation
4 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
How Bill Gates Is Helping KFC Take Over Africa (Original Post) polly7 Jan 2014 OP
This would not be bad except that the next step is KFC will start their own big chicken farms and jwirr Jan 2014 #1
That's exactly the problem I see too. polly7 Jan 2014 #2
Recommend! KoKo Jan 2014 #4
Bad blkmusclmachine Jan 2014 #3

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
1. This would not be bad except that the next step is KFC will start their own big chicken farms and
Tue Jan 14, 2014, 03:45 PM
Jan 2014

run those little farmers out of business. That is what happened in the 1950s here in the USA. Today many of the chickens we eat both from the store and in restaurants come from corporate farms. That drives a lot of people back into poverty. My father was one of the small farmers forced out in the 50s. It was not a good time for rural areas.

polly7

(20,582 posts)
2. That's exactly the problem I see too.
Tue Jan 14, 2014, 03:50 PM
Jan 2014

It's the same when any large corporation moves in, doubly devastating for individual farmers in poorer nations whose gov'ts will not protect them against these giants.

I don't know if it's against the rule here or not to post comments following an article, but this was a great one, imo:

Zooty2Shoes AmandaSowards • 2 days ago ?
Amanda, I think the problem is far deeper than you have made out.

Smallholdings in most African countries are essential for a number of reasons: They feed the family, firstly; Excess production is sold to vendors in towns; Rotation of local crops utilizes the local geography, climate and ingrained local knowledge to be able to produce multiple crops year on year, without destroying the soils; The cycle of growing is built on utilization of all resources - from human and animal waste composted to fertilizer, straw, vines, etc. used for roofing, utensils, artifacts, chickens working as little tractors and natural pesticides in among the crops, etc. Those cycles of village agriculture just work.

There are many interlinked processes that have evolved over hundreds of generations and introducing an imbalance into that system that could end up with introducing poverty and hunger where it currently is in balance.

Africa is, in biomass, completely able to feed itself, but over the last 30 years Western corporations have turned small holdings into large farms for export, pushing up the price of food to the extent that locals can't afford to eat - which is what is the biggest driver of poverty and malnutrition. Kenya has effectively become Europe's greenhouse, providing expensive air-transported fruits and vegetables into European winter - but the result of that is a huge price-hike in local markets over the last 30 years.

If small farmers change from their staple crops to a US-style monoculture, they may get wealthy, but there will be no 'give' in the system. All it will take is for one enterprising government official to decide (on the back of a large payment, no doubt) to implement a massive state-subsidized soy or chicken farm to leave these smallholders with no market and no easily usable food. To have to return to their original method of farming after implementing a monoculture isn't easy and in a hand-to-mouth agriculture could end up with an entire season of starvation.

There are a lot of good things we in the West can do to improve on African farming methods - introducing factory farming and monoculture in the name of 'efficiency' are not something we should contemplate. Look at our own awful factory farming methods and the shocking state of food security in the US - antibiotic-laden chicken and beef (to the extent that most of the developed world won't buy our produce!), GMO crops with a designed lifecycle to ensure you are tithed to Monsanto, corn syrup in everything - these are not practices we want to be exporting to a continent trying to bring itself up to a modern, Western technological level.

Improving the storage of food, improving irrigation and cultivation, improving pest control and ultimately, yield - those are the kinds of thing we should be doing, but as is usual, the majority of 'improvement' programs are driven by corporations who have something other than altruism at their focus.

Latest Discussions»Editorials & Other Articles»How Bill Gates Is Helping...