“Food Security”. The beautiful artwork suggest, perhaps, a Mother, two older daughters and a young child. The Mother is smiling. She is pouring into a basket almost ready to overflow. This makes her happy. Her family will be fed into the future. The older daughters are working the heavy poles, processing the produce picked from the fields behind them. They have learned their Mother’s ways and priorities. One must provide for food for the family. The young one is learning from her older sisters. The artwork is beautiful. The illustration is moving.
As I write this, I am mesmerized. I am sitting in a pub, on my second beer, feeling a little uncomfortable because I ate too much food for lunch. As I did yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. As I am getting older, I do find myself worried about “security” in my future. Some kinds of security. But I have never, not for one moment, ever, in my now somewhat long life, been worried over food security. Have you? I’d love to hear your stories.
A site I just discovered is here, the Famine Early Warning System Network, referenced from this Malawi report, here. From this, I learn that there are very many people working together toward Food Security. I want to help. Do you?
From wikipedia here: Tobacco production in Malawi is one of the nation’s largest sources of income. As of 2005, Malawi was the 12th largest producer of tobacco leaves and the 7th largest global supporter of tobacco leaves. As of 2010, Malawi was the world’s leading producer of burley leaf tobacco. With the decline of tobacco farms in the West, interest in Malawi’s low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco has increased. Today, Malawian tobacco is found in blends of nearly every cigarette smoked in industrialized nations including the popular and ubiquitous Camel and Marlboro brands. It is the world’s most tobacco dependent economy.
Burley leaf from Malawi makes up 6.6 percent of the worlds tobacco exports and accounts for over 70 percent of Malawi’s foreign earnings. Tobacco sales generate 165 million dollars per year for Malawi, with tobacco making up 53 percent of Malawi’s exports.
Approximately 75 percent of the population depends on tobacco farming although only a small proportion of Malawians are smokers. 5 million workers are indirectly employed in related industries or are family members of tobacco workers.
During the era of Hastings Banda, 1966-1994, the local tobacco industry grew and changed and flourished. Production rose 100% by the 1970s from the pre-independence days. Furthermore in the 1970s, tobacco production began its huge shit from the “developed” nations to the “developing” nations, a movement upon which Malawi capitalized. Formerly one of the very poorest of African nations, its economy has been bolstered substantially by tobacco.
Malawi gained independence in 1964, and Banda the presidency in 1966. In 1970 he was named President-for-Life, a position held until he lost a UN pressured election in 1994.
Laos is landlocked in the midst of the Indochina peninsula. 80% of its land is mountainous and hilly. Arable land is located primarily along its primary river, the Mekong, and its tributaries. From rainy to dry seasons the elevation of the Mekong can fluctuate 20 meters. The Mekong remained “untamed” along its entire length, that is, not a single spanning bridge, until 1994 when the Friendship bridge was opened, connecting Laos with Vietnam.
In 1893, Laos became a French colony. During WW2 it came under dominion of the Japanese, returning to France following the war. In 1954, Laos secured independence from France. Landlocked, surrounded by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China, for decades remained largely unknown to the rest of the world. That is changing.
Portuguese Guinea was a West African colony of Portugal from the late 15th century until 10 September 1974, when it gained independence as Guinea-Bissau. The Glorification of Triumph is celebrated in this beautiful banknote.
The beautiful artwork on the back of this banknote is the allegory named “Apoteose ao Triunfo”, which translates from the Portuguese as, the “Glorification of Triumph”. In the foreground are men and women and children bringing forth in celebration the bounty of the land. And in the background, as if illustrating what is in their minds as they celebrate, are universal images of triumph and glory. In the foreground, the man standing on the right is holding an arade, a classic farming instrument of the region. Everywhere there is bounty. In the lower right there is a chicken and a goat. In the center foreground there are baskets abounding with the tropical fruits of the land. Standing on the right, a woman is holding a basket of fish, while seated on the left, one is pouring a cup of nectar. All the while, musical instruments are being played.
Our beautiful banknote can only be identified as belonging to the African country of Gabon, by the letter “L”, above the numeral 2000 in the bottom left corner. If that letter had been “C” or “E” or “F” or “N” or “P”, it would be identified with one of the other 5 countries using the same currency. Together, those 5 plus our Gabon comprise the CFA or Central African Financial cooperative.
The nations and their currency code, for the 2000 franc banknote, are as follows: C (Republic of the Congo; 1993-2002 issue); E (Cameroon; 1993-2002 issue); F (Central African Republic; 1994-2002 issue); L (Gabon; 1993-2002 issue); N (Equatorial Guinea; 1993-2000 issue); P (Chad; 1993-2000 issue)
The Map on the left is on the front of the banknote. Notice that it is segmented into 6 parts, each with a dot. This is a map of the 6 Central Africa Nations that compose the CFA, or known in English as the Financial Cooperation in Central Africa. The countries mapped are, starting from the top and proceeding in a clockwise rotation, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The image on the right, selected from this website, highlights the 6 member countries in dark red, and their positions in the continent.
Debate continues over the present use of the French backed common currency in the 21st century as outlined in this January 2018 article in the Economist.