The Perfect Famine (2002)

Film details

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    United Kingdom

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The fifth programme in the third series made as aid agencies were calling for urgent donations to help over six million people facing the prospect of famine across southern Africa. The programme investigates what went wrong in one of the countries, Malawai, where families were already resorting to traditional famine strategies, including abandoning villages, eating wild plants and next year's seed corn. Despite recent droughts, Malawi is a fertile land, with hard-working, entrepreneurial farmers, that should be able to feed itself. According to critics featured in the film, much of the answer as to what went lies in poor governance, the suppression of critical voices and the sale of last year's maize reserves in allegedly dishonest circumstances. With interviews with development experts and economists - including Professor J.K. Galbraith, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and Fred L. Smith Junior, President of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington. discussing the issues worldwide, the programme asks how rich countries can help the world's poor - without rewarding unaccountable regimes, or creating charges of neo-colonial interference in their affairs.

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