Green Revolution / Agribusiness in Africa

Green Revolution / Agribusiness in Africa

Open Letter to African Governments and AGRA (The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)

The undersigned 28 civil society organizations support and represent the interests of smallholder farmers and livestock keepers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and are concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty.

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View the full statement here.

Statement on AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)

At a farmers rights meeting held in Uganda September 2012 a statement was drawn up and signed by many concerned parties.

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Download the press release here.
Signatures:

1. ActionAid, Tanzania
2. ActionAid, Uganda
3. Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Uganda
4. African Biodiversity Network – representing 36 organisations in Africa
5. African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa
6. Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development, Uganda
7. Community Technology Development Trust, Zimbabwe
8. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Tanzania
9. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Uganda
10. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Zambia
11. Envirocare, Tanzania
12. Ethio-Organic Seed Action, Ethiopia
13. Food Rights Alliance, Uganda
14. Inades Formation, Kenya
15. Kenya Biodiversity Coalition – representing 67 civil society groups
16. National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda
17. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management – representing 230 civil society
groups including
18. PELUM Kenya,
19. PELUM Rwanda,
20. PELUM Tanzania and
21. PELUM Uganda.
22. Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute, Uganda
23. Surplus People Project, South Africa
24. Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity, Tanzania – representing 15 organisations
25. The Pincer Group International Ltd, Uganda
26. Third World Network
27.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA): laying the groundwork for the commercialisation of African agriculture

We consider AGRA’s broad philosophy and structure, focusing on AGRA’s own views or those of its consultants, before turning to a more detailed consideration of its specific work in the Programme for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS) and, in slightly less detail, its Soil Health Programme (SHP). These programmes are inseparable because seed and soil fertility technologies are interlinked. Seed and fertiliser are the fundamental technological interventions on which AGRA’s strategies hang. The paper concludes with thoughts for ways for the broad agroecological and food and seed sovereignty movements to respond to AGRA.

Our conclusions include the following: AGRA is undoubtedly laying the groundwork for the commercialisation of African agriculture and its selective integration into global circuits of accumulation. Benefits will be unevenly spread and we should expect accelerated divergences in farmer interests. This will lead to greater class differentiation and a deepening commodification of African agriculture (subordinating agricultural products to the imperatives of exchange for the realisation of surplus value, rather than as use values in their own right).

The shadow of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other seed and agrichemical multinationals, and equity funds lie just behind the scenes of AGRA’s show. Building new markets and market infrastructure for

Corporate concentration and control in the grains and oilseed value chain in South Africa: A case study of the Bunge/Senwes joint venture

The Bunge/Senwes joint venture signals the first significant investment by Bunge in Africa. Bunge is one of the world’s largest and most influential corporations and is amongst a handful of companies dominating global trade in agricultural commodities. Senwes holds a dominant position in the South African market for the storage and handling of grain crops. In this briefing, we provide inter alia:

  • A breakdown of the value chains of the various grains and oilseeds that the joint venture will focus upon, with particular attention being paid to the storage and handling of these crops;
  • Information on South Africa’s three largest grain storage companies;
  • A summary of the merger and acquisition activity in the agribusiness sector, including areas of strategic convergence such as poultry production and grain storage and trading; and
  • Our major concerns with the joint venture and the imbalances and inequities in the food system that it entrenches.
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An Open Letter to Oxfam America

Sent from the following concerned groups:

African Center on Biodiversity, South Africa (Mariam Mayet, Executive Director)
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj/Indian Farmers Association, India (Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President)
Center for Food Safety, U.S. (Debi Barker, International Director)
CNOP (Coordination Nationale des organizations Paysannes/ National Coordination of Peasant Organizations), Mali (Ibrahima Coulibaly, President)
Grassroots International, US (Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director)
Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam/Farmers Association Of Tamil Nadu, India (S.Kannaiyan, Organizer)
The Oakland Institute, US (Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director)

April 12, 2010

Mr. Jeremy Hobbs
Executive Director, Oxfam International
266 Banbury Road, Suite 20
Oxford OX2 7DL
United Kingdom

Mr. Ray Offenheiser
President, Oxfam America
1100 15th St., NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

Dear Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Offenheiser:
We the undersigned, as part of the global food justice and food sovereignty movement, are writing to you to express our grave concerns with the recent position publicized by Oxfam America in support of agricultural biotechnology as a viable solution for addressing poverty faced by resource poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries. We deemed necessary to write to you not just because of a recently released book, but also because Oxfam America appears to be positioning itself

African Sorghum for agrofuels: the race is on

Author: Edward Hammond
About the briefing: The interlocking problems of climate change, emissions from fossil fuels, and limited oil reserves have stimulated interest worldwide in the use of plant crops to produce fuel. Agrofuels are not a new idea. Brazil, for instance, has used them on a large scale for many years. The potential scale of production and use of agrofuels in the coming decades, however, is unprecedented.

Presently, most of the world’s agrofuels are produced from common crops including maize and sugarcane (for ethanol) and soya and rapeseed (for biodiesel). But dozens of companies and public sector plant breeding institutions, funded by private and government investment, are furiously researching other crops that could be optimized for agrofuels. This is in part due to the criticism that has been levelled at production of agrofuels from edible grains, particularly maize, and its effect on food prices.

Sorghum, native to Africa and grown world-wide, is fast emerging as a leader among the “energy crops” and may play a major role in the international agrofuels industry. Seed companies are showing new interest in African farmers’ varieties of sorghum, which may have characteristics useful for industrial agrofuel production. Companies and government plant

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa: Turning Africa into a repository for failed agricultural technologies

The ‘new’ Green Revolution push in Africa is directed squarely at increasing agricultural production as the continent’s most fundamental development priority. The most visible actor in the Green Revolution onslaught is the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Despite initial successes in increasing output in Asia and Latin America, the Green Revolutions in those respective continents have nevertheless been criticized for their environmental, nutritional and micro-economic impacts. In light of these disparate findings on the various impacts of the Green Revolution, the wholesale adoption of its methods on the African continent would appear miss-informed.

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Patents, Climate Change and African Agriculture: Dire Predictions

Uncertainty and apprehension often afford opportunity to the cunning. This is certainly the case with climate change. The multinational seed and agrochemical industry see climate change as a means by which to further penetrate African agricultural markets by rhetorically positioning itself, even if implausibly, as having the solution to widespread climate concerns. Their so-called ?final solution? to deal with the impact of climate change on African agriculture depends on mass adoption of GM seeds and chemically intensive agricultural practices. This model poses serious biosafety risks and demands the surrender of Africa‘s food sovereignty to foreign corporations and the widespread acceptance of patents on life in Africa.

Despite its obvious pitfalls, this model is being aggressively promoted by multinationals, private philanthropy and some African national agricultural research programmes, often funded by the first two. The money and public relations forces backing the seed giants threaten to drown out other voices and other possibilities for African agriculture.

In this briefing, we expose the forces behind ?climate ready? crops, including the central role played by gene giant Monsanto and provide data on patents on climate genes in respect to key African staple and other food crops.

September 2009

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Africa’s Green Revolution rolls out the Gene Revolution

THE ‘New Green Revolution in Africa‘, touted since the 1990s, was given renewed impetus two and a half years ago, when the Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).1 Although AGRA itself does not incorporate genetically modified (GM) crops in its projects, the ominous presence of GM companies and GM technologies hovers over the Green Revolution push like a bad dream.

Millions of dollars have been poured into the coffers of a host of carefully selected role players, to lay the groundwork for the industrialisation of African agriculture and creation of markets for agribusiness giants. These AGRA players include US groups such as Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA) and the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC). Both these groups are successfully enmeshing the corporate interests of Syngenta Crop Protection, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience, Du Pont Crop Protection and Monsanto within AGRA projects in select African countries.

It is also becoming extremely important to link the huge amounts of cash flowing into ‘Green Revolution’ coffers, to the enormous cash injections flowing from the Gates Foundation into biosafety projects in Africa. The beneficiaries of huge Gates Foundation

A Green Revolution for Africa: Disaster in the making

When world leaders hastily gathered at the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) high level conference to respond to the global food crisis the three Rome based UN organizations (the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural development and the World Food Programme) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to aggressively advance the Green Revolution push in Africa.

A distinctive underpinning of the propagation of the Green revolution is the inherent tendency to view food shortages as a shortcoming of food supply rather than as a more complex phenomenon requiring a far more holistic and wide ranging understanding of why people go hungry. At its core, the Green Revolution undermines Africa’s food systems and food sovereignty: People’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to use their own food and agriculture systems.

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