On September 2, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) held a virtual press conference calling on donors to defund the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), leading up to AGRA’s African Green Revolution Forum. Speakers also called on the Gates Foundation and other AGRA donors to respond to letters AFSA first sent to donors in June.
During the press conference, AFSA General Coordinator Million Belay contrasted two opposed agricultural visions: the Green Revolution model of industrial agriculture, and the agroecological alternatives demanded by AFSA and the hundreds of millions of small-scale food producers its 35 member organizations represent.
Importantly, AFSA and allied organizations want to see continued donor commitments to African agriculture, but in models that do not force African producers into industrial, chemical-intensive systems. Instead, they are demanding investments that are “democratic and responsive to the people at the heart of agriculture, not … a top-down force that ends up concentrating power and profit into the hands of a small number of multinational companies.” As Mariann Bassey-Orovwuje of Friends of the Earth Africa stated during the press conference: “If a fraction of the billions of dollars that has passed through the coffers of AGRA had been given to an actual small-scale farmer who actually feed us, we would have healthy, nutritious, diverse food and enough food to feed our continent.”
On the failures of AGRA and industrial agriculture to provide resilience to climate change, watch Francesca de Gasparis’ comments:
The press conference and AFSA’s subsequent release of an international sign-on letter directed at the Gates Foundation have garnered significant media attention and coverage:
- Africans Publicly Challenge Green Revolution Backers, Food Tank
- Francesca de Gasparis and Gabriel Manyangadze, Op-ed: Industrial Agriculture is No Solution for Africa, Capital News (Kenya)—reprinted in AllAfrica, Vanguard (Nigeria), Daily Maverick (South Africa), Business Daily (Kenya), The Plebiscite World, and The Insight (Nigeria)
- David Mwere, AGRA on spot over Africa’s food insecurity despite huge donor funding, Nation, Kenya.
- Timothy A. Wise, Op-ed: Fiddling in Nairobi While Africa Goes Hungry, IPS News.
- Timothy A. Wise, Africa’s green revolution initiative has faltered: why other ways must be found, The Conversation–reprinted in Modern Ghana, Down to Earth (India), Middle East North Africa Financial Network (MENAFN) News, AllAfrica, and The Citizen (Tanzania)
- Million Belay, Op-ed: Africa is not a monoculture, we reject the plans to make it one, Al Jazeera
- Rumbi Chakamba, Faith groups lead call to defund industrial agriculture in Africa, Devex.
- Inga Vesper, Calls for halt to funding for industrial agriculture, SciDevNet.
- Sabrina Jacobs, A Rude Awakening with Dr. Gregory Jenkins and Anne Maina, KPFA.
- Rich Copley, PC(USA) ministries call for support of African farmers, Presbyterian News Service.
- Stacy Malkan, African groups want Gates Foundation, USAID to shift agricultural funding as hunger crisis worsens, US Right to Know.
- Stacy Malkan, Groups call for stop to AGRA funding as hunger crisis worsens in Africa, Expression Africa.
- Jayati Ghosh, Time is running out for a new agricultural model for the global south, Social Europe.
- Community Alliance for Global Justice / AGRA Watch, Op-ed: Bill Gates: Do Better, and Listen to African Civil Society, South Seattle Emerald.
- Errol Schweizer and Evan Driscoll, Episode 76: Million Belay, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, The Checkout podcast.
- Anne Maina, Op-ed: Agroecology the route to sustainable food security, Business Daily (see bottom of the page)
- Open letter: The Green Revolution in Africa has unequivocally failed, African Arguments.