Where does the Gates Foundation’s agriculture spending really go?

As part of our research for our Rich Appetites film series, AGRA Watch has conducted an analysis of Gates Foundation agricultural development grants specifically targeting Africa–now published as a report: African Agricultural Development … for the US? An Analysis of the Distribution of Gates Foundation Grants.

Looking at grants through July 2021, we have found that:

The majority of the Gates Foundation’s grant money designated for African agricultural development has gone to North America and Europe, not to Africa.

Map showing that most grant monies have gone to the US and a handful of countries

The grant money that has ended up in Africa has gone to three main institutions–-AGRA, AATF, and CGIAR centers—rather than to organizations with strong roots in African communities.

Pie chart showing that most grants in Africa have gone to AGRA, CGIAR, and AATF

The Gates Foundation has funded very few projects focused on organic or agroecological approaches, but has funded numerous projects focused on “sustainability,” framed in a productivist and corporate-friendly way.

Chart showing the frequency of keyword groups in grant descriptions, with high frequency of words focused on incomes and productivity

Our results are broadly consistent with the findings of two earlier reports examining the Gates Foundation’s agricultural development spending: GRAIN’s 2021 report How the Gates Foundation is Driving the Food System, in the Wrong Direction, and the 2020 Money Flows report by Biovision and IPES-Food. Yet our methodology departs from these studies in some key ways. While GRAIN examined all agricultural development grants worldwide, we focused specifically on grants earmarked for Africa. And Money Flows did not include AGRA (due to data limitations at the time of writing) and focused specifically on funding of what the report terms “agricultural research for development.” As such, this emphasized research-based funding rather than project-based funding. In spite of these methodological differences and resulting differences in statistical figures, our findings support the conclusions of these reports that most of the Foundation’s agricultural development grants: 1) go to the Global North, 2) focus on a handful of institutions, many of which were created and/or heavily influenced by the Gates Foundation itself, and 3) tend to support high-input, industrial models of agriculture.

Read the full report here!

Posted in Agra Watch Blog Posts, Agra Watch News, News, Slider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *