Western failures; the case for small farmers; Mexican miracles; DFID consultancy row (and plebgate); global food waste scandal: links I liked

2012 Trade and Development Report is unimpressed on financial reform and the West’s failure to pursue growth with equity (remember that?). ‘Smallholder farmers in Africa and elsewhere can drive sustainable agricultural development, contribute to global food security, and catalyze economic growth worldwide’ according to IFAD president Kanayo F. Nwanze Michael Clemens finds an aid project that increases poor Mexicans’ wages by 1000%. Only it’s not an aid project. Mixed emotions – DFID’s getting a lot of bashing about its consultancy bill. Looks like fair criticism, but can we please sort it out while also defending the overall case for aid? The Guardian asks is the £500m a year effectively a form of back door tied aid to UK companies? And exposes fat cats at the ultra free market (any irony there?) Adam Smith International with their snouts in the DFID trough ‘Over 70% of ASI’s income now comes from the Department for International Development. The ASI’s managing director, William Morrison, received £1.3m in total pay and dividends in 2010.’ Meanwhile DFID’s former boss, Andrew Mitchell, seems to be rather over-compensating for no longer having to wear a bleeding heart on his sleeve. But before DFID’s staff (and consultants) hurl themselves from Vauxhall Bridge, take heart – South African Kate Orkin says the UK should be proud of its aid programme (and this is based on her PhD research, not being a consultant – at least as far as I can tell). For the record, I largely agree with Kate, at least for the non-Adam Smith bit. Mixed emotions part deux, and I’m not quite sure why, when I listened to this talk. Maybe it’s some kind of subliminal battle between the ‘we should help poor countries to export more’ message of Make Trade Fair and the ‘we must learn to live within planetary boundaries’ of the Grow Campaign. Or maybe it’s  because he’s a bit annoying. And is called Tristram. Hey ho, deal with it. Tristram Stuart on the global food waste scandal. [h/t Richard King]

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