Letter to the editor: AgriSol-ISU efforts in Tanzania would help solve food production problem

Zach Boss

After reading Ahna Kruzic’s column about AgriSol, I found that there were some misleading facts about the Tanzania project as well as Iowa State’s role.

The global food demand by 2050 is projected to increase by 70 percent. With that being said, we need to find ways to increase yields on the land already in production.

However, increasing yields to a sustainable level won’t be enough. In order to meet global demand, we must search for tillable land elsewhere, which means going to places that currently don’t meet their production potential.

These areas that lack production need to be assisted in order to alleviate the world’s growing demand for food consumption. By being ignorant to possible areas to develop in foreign countries, costs for food will rise to unprecedented marks.

The government has tried and failed in its efforts to develop areas in the world, like Tanzania, in the past due to the impatience in letting their investment mature. The government has had its chance, and it dropped the ball.

Now it is time for someone else to step up to the plate in the form of capitalism. Quick rebuttal to Miss Kruzic is that I would much rather have my money “stolen” by competitively driven businesses than having the government pick my pocket to be redistributed to people who give no contribution to society. Anyway, I have no problem with a company like AgriSol investing its money and resources to help bring more food to the world and help a local population lead a better life.

It’s not only a business investment, but an opportunity to make a country better — through development — consequently, giving hope to a country that someday could have the same pleasures as the United States.

Biased organizations such as the Oakland Institute spin their stories to whatever fits their motives, in turn building upon the wave of bad media that distort the public’s view of the truth with regard to refugees and the project as a whole.

AgriSol has repeatedly stated that it will not build where refugees are located. According to a recent op-ed in The Des Moines Register, Bruce Rastetter went further and stated that under no circumstances will AgriSol facilitate or advocate the removal of any refugee from any land.

Iowa State University, which was formerly associated with the Tanzania project for consulting purposes, is no longer on the project. Even if Rastetter is the Board of Regents chairman, Iowa State should not have backed down from this project simply for the fact that it is a world leader in agricultural education, not to mention working with similar projects in Uganda.

Iowa State would be a vital asset to Tanzania by implementing modern agriculture farming techniques, as well as using its mass network of private businesses to execute these practices. It’s sad that politics have interfered in allowing Iowa State to help tackle a global issue that would undoubtedly make a difference in the global economy.

As a stakeholder of Iowa State and the state of Iowa, I am proud of a fellow Iowan who takes a proactive stance in tackling global food issues and developing countries such as Tanzania, compared to being reactive and waiting for the government to do something. In the words of Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and native Iowan, “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” Apparently Occupy ISU would rather see the world starve.