Volume 10, Number 13                                   October 5, 2007

The Farmer


Who controls the "Useful Land"?

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad

The major goal of the Ministry of Agriculture is to develop a sustainable agricultural system that would provide at least one meal per day, according to the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad for the 40 million black people in America. Also this system should provide the necessary raw materials for the production of clothing and housing for the 40 million or more black people in America. This requires the attainment, proper utilization and conservation of the useful land and using science and technology to make the non-useful land useful.

According to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, of the 57,255,000 square miles of land on the earth 29,000,000 square miles are classified as "producing" or "useful". How does the teacher of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Master Fard Muhammad, determine what is "useful land"? How do we determine the value of land when we do not know how to properly utilize the land? How do you make non-useful land useful? How many acres of land will be necessary to feed 40 million people?

Back in 1934 when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was codifying the Teachings of Master Fard Muhammad there were 4,400,000,000 Original or indigenous people and 400,000,000 Caucasians. According to those same teachings the Original people used 23,000,000 square miles while Caucasians used 6,000,000 square miles. Each square mile of land consists of 640 acres. So when you multiply by acres per square mile and then divide by the population of the two groups, you find that each Original uses on average 3.35 acres while each Caucasian uses on average 9.6 acres.

Therefore, although the Original or indigenous people out number Caucasians 11 to 1, as individuals Whites utilize almost three times the amount of "useful" land than an Original or indigenous person. Below we have included a chart using data obtained from the World Book Encyclopedia on population per square mile for six continents. Although you find the different races of people on each continent, most will agree that Europe and North America are predominantly Caucasian. According to the data Europe enjoyed a population density of about 170 people per square mile and North America had a population density of about 40 people per square mile in 1981. In fact in 1981 the population density of Europe was greater than Asia’s 160 people per square mile. Now one does not hear very much about starving children in Europe but one sees stories on the TV about starving children in some of the Asian countries.

Now when we look at Africa which is portrayed as always on the brink of starvation, we find that Africa in 1981 had a population density of about 40 people per square mile, almost exactly the same as North America. By 2001 Africa’s population density increased to about 70 people per square mile which was still less than one third of Asia’s 220 people per square mile, and less than half the population density of Europe.

Now let us analyze the data. Europe and Asia both have high population densities but Europe seems to have plenty of food. North America and Africa have comparatively low population densities, but North America has ample food while Africans starve.

What is the explanation? Well maybe Caucasian people are better farmers than Blacks and Asians. Or maybe Caucasian people not only utilize the land base on which they are settled, but also have the power to draw food and resources from Africa and other places while the indigenous people are politically or economically locked out of utilizing the land beneath their feet.

Take Zimbabwe for instance. According to President Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s land crisis began in 1895 when the European powers set down to partition Africa among themselves. Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Namibia went to Britain. The Europeans first entered the land looking for mineral resources. They did not find as much gold as they had anticipated so they turned to grabbing land and practicing "ethnic cleansing" to secure it. Instead of paying their soldiers in gold, they paid them in land. white British soldiers who fought in World Wars I and II were given the best farm land in Zimbabwe while the black soldiers were given bicycles. Over time this gift to white British soldiers grew to 46.6% of Zimbabwe’s agricultural land and was comprised of the best land.

When Zimbabwe won its fight for liberation from the colonial rule of Britain in 1980, the white population was 60,000 while Black population of Zimbabwe was 12,500,000. Of the 60,000 whites only 4,000 were farmers, but that class owned 46.7% of Zimbabwe’s farm land. These white farmers held 40% of their land for speculative purposes and did not farm them, but would not lease them out to Blacks to grow food. The "mystery" of Blacks starving in Africa is now revealed; whites own the best agricultural land, because they stole it.

By 2002 Zimbabwe had transferred over 90% of the white owned farms and distributed the acres to black farmers. However, now there are reports of food shortages and low yields in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has turned from a net exporter of food when the majority of the farm land was controlled by Whites to a net importer now that the land is controlled by Blacks. To understand what is happening in Zimbabwe and other former colonies of the West, we must get an understanding of what can make land a productive asset or an unproductive liability. Land by itself does not produce food. You must have seeds, labor, equipment, transportation, markets, access to capital and enforceable contracts.

Black farmers in America are loosing their land, while acres of Black owned farm land are sitting idle. The same principles that cause Black land loss in America can be used to analyze low productivity of agriculture in other Third World countries. In a future article we will discuss how useful land can be made useless by a failed or non-sustainable agricultural system.