Tag Archive: Yara

Grabbing Africa’s seeds: USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover

The latest salvo in the battle over Africa’s seed systems has been fired, writes Stephen Greenberg, with the Gates Foundation and USAID playing puppet-masters to Africa’s governments – now meeting in Addis Ababa – as they drive forward corporation-friendly seed regulations that exclude and marginalize the small farmers whose seeds and labour feed the continent.

 

More than 80% of Africa’s seed supply currently comes from millions of small-scale farmers recycling and exchanging seed from year to year. This seed meets very diverse needs in very diverse conditions.

A battle is currently being waged over Africa’s seed systems. After decades of neglect and weak investment in African agriculture, there is renewed interest in funding African agriculture.

These new investments take the form of philanthropic and international development aid as well as private investment funds. They are based on the potentially huge profitability of African agriculture – and seed systems are a key target.

Right now ministers are co-ordinating their next steps at the 34th COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Intergovernmental Committee meeting that kicked off yesterday, 22nd March, in preparation for the main Summit that will follow on 30th and 31st March 2015.

COMESA’s key aim is

Nuanced rhetoric and the path to poverty: AGRA, small-scale farmers, and seed and soil fertility in Tanzania

The report indicates a well-coordinated effort by selected states especially the US and in the EU, philanthropic institutions like AGRA, multilateral institutions like the World Bank, donors and multinational corporations (MNCs) including Yara, Monsanto and Pioneer to construct a Green Revolution that aims to produce a layer of commercial surplus producers. This is an explicit goal and they are not shy of saying it. However, the long-term social and ecological impacts of this agenda are questionable, with concerns about loss of land, biodiversity, and sovereignty.

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AGRA’s scandalous subsidisation of big fertiliser, financial and agribusiness corporations in Africa

In a scandalous move of skulduggery, the African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), under the guise of empowering smallholder farmers in Africa, is subsidising multinational fertiliser and financial corporations on African soil. Other beneficiaries of this scheme are the global grain trading and food processing giants.

AFAP, established in 2012, with a grant of US $25 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-the biggest grant given to a single recipient by AGRA so far- is ostensibly working towards ensuring that African smallholder farmers grow food and profits. However, according to a new report from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) – The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP): The missing link in Africa’s Green Revolution, AFAP’s main focus is the provision of credit guarantees to importers and distributors of fertilisers in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.

“In essence, AFAP is using development funds, as well as money from the Ethiopian government – one of the least developed countries in the world – to subsidise multinational fertiliser companies such as Yara, which dominates the fertiliser trade in Africa. This also extends to large multinational banks such as the Standard Bank Group, Barclays and the Dutch firm Rabobank, who

Running to Stand Still: Small-Scale Farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi

According to ACB?s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, ?our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels ofsynthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the publicpurse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by government subsidies and the promise of massive yields. However, adoption of these hybrid seeds comes at the cost of abandoning diversity and resilience of local seed varieties, and the ever escalating requirement for synthetic fertilisers. Indeed, our findings show net transfers away from farming households to agribusinesses such as SeedCo, Pannar (recentlymerged with Pioneer Hi-Bred), Monsanto and Demeter in the commercial seed industry. For fertiliser, the major fertiliser producers and distributors are Farmers World (which also owns Demeter seed), Yara, TansGlobe, Omnia and Rab Processors.?

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The political economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush

The African Centre for Biosafety has today released an in-depth report, The Political Economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush, which looks at the role of fertiliser in the Green Revolution push in Africa, some of the key present and future fertiliser trends on the continent and the major players involved in this.

The value of the global fertiliser industry is immense. In 2012 the global sales of NPK fertilisers alone were over US$200 billion, compared to a total global pesticide market of US$75 billion. Though Africa accounts for only around 1.6% of global consumption, discoveries of huge deposits of natural gas around the continent (a key fertiliser ingredient) is expected to result in a flurry of fertiliser plant construction, the costs of which are likely to run in the billions of dollars.

In parallel developments, the promotion of fertiliser use in Africa is a core component of the new Green Revolution push on the continent. This is most clearly articulated by the Abuja Declaration of 2006, which called for average fertiliser use across the continent to increase for 8kg per ha to 50kg per ha by 2015. In the interim, numerous initiatives have place increasing fertiliser use (particularly by

Unmasking the New Green revolution in Africa

THIRD WORLD NETWORK
http://www.twnside.org.sg

UNMASKING THE NEW GREEN REVOLUTION IN AFRICA
Motives, Players and Dynamics

By Elenita C. Dano
Publisher: Third World Network (TWN), Church Development Service (EED) and African Centre for Biosafety
ISBN: 978-983-2729-08-2
Year: 2007 No. of pages: 68

About the Book

Efforts are currently underway to spark a ‘New Green Revolution‘ in African agriculture. Modelled on the original Green Revolution which began in Asia some five decades ago, this ambitious project entails the large-scale application of a technological package comprising new seed varieties, often including genetically modified crops, industrial farm inputs and massive agricultural infrastructure.

This paper looks at the major players behind this push for an African Green Revolution – a high-powered mix of Western Philanthropic organizations, agribusiness corporations, intergovernmental institutions and other groups – and traces the links and interconnected relationships between them. The paper also asks whether this grand scheme, which purports to be chiefly concerned with agricultural development in Africa, might not end up providing a cover for narrow corporate interests. The real solution to the problems facing African agriculture, the author argues, lies not with such externally imposed initiatives but in the hands of African farmers and smallholders themselves, who