"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

Japan Sets Up an International Organization To Bring About Green Revolution in Africa

After years of allowing the United States to guide its international relations, Japan has now begun effectively to get itself out of the rut and is assuming responsibility in a crisis that affects millions of human lives.

As a beginning, Japan has set its eyes on the food-short African nations, and is now in the process of setting up an international organization, with 30 organizations as part of it, to trigger a Green Revolution like the one seen in Asia in the 1960s. Tokyo noted that Africa has much room for improved agricultural productivity, as rice productivity per hectare of land there is only about 40% that of Asian rice paddies.

The group is expected to begin its efforts in October with the initial participation of seven organizations, including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The group's headquarters will be in Nairobi. Among other organizations to be invited to join are the World Bank, the UN Development Program, and the U.S. government. In addition, Japan has announced the release 20,000 tonnes of rice for developing countries in Africa. "Part of the grant aid will be offered to five countries such as Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and under the scheme those recipient governments will buy Japanese rice of about 20,000 tonnes in total," Foreign Ministry official Shigeru Kondo said. Other recipients countries include Guinea-Bissau, The Central African Republic and Burundi.

Tokyo is also considering a request to send 200,000 tonnes of its stockpiled foreign rice to the Philippines, another nation where the poor got hit hard by the skyrocketing rise of the rice price.