South African agribusinesses are aggressively expanding into Africa in search of profits from a relatively untapped consumer market with rising income levels and to escape the country’s negative economic conditions. This paper traces this expansion and outlines the implications for Africa’s market structure, food security and food sovereignty movements, as well as exploring the potential impact on Africa?s small-scale farmers and producers.
Giving With One Hand and Taking With Two: A Critique of Agra’s African Agriculture Status Report 2013
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released a comprehensive critique of a report published by the African Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The analysis of AGRA’s African Agriculture Status Report 2013 reveals that AGRA?s vision is premised on Public Private Partnerships in which African governments will shoulder the cost and burden of developing regulatory procedures and infrastructure to enable private agribusiness to profit from new African markets.
AGRA report Nov2013
Modernising African Agriculture: Who benefits? Civil Society statement on the G8, AGRA and the African Union’s CAADP
African agriculture is in need of support and investment. Many initiatives are flowing from the North, including the G8?s ?New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa? and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). These initiatives are framed in terms of the African Union?s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This gives them a cover of legitimacy. But what is driving these investments, and who is set to benefit from them?
This statement, signed by close to 60 organisations from 37 African countries, places these ?modernisation? initiatives in the context of the gathering global crisis with financial, economic, energy and ecological dimensions. It further calls upon these institutions to recognise the immense diversity found in African agriculture, and frame their responses accordingly.
Download the statements sent to AGRA, CAADP and the UK Government:
English CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to UK Government
English CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to CAADP
English CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to AGRA
French CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to CAADP
French CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to AGRA
Portuguese CSO statement G8 AGRA CAADP to
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.
At a farmers rights meeting held in Uganda September 2012 a statement was drawn up and signed by many concerned parties.
Download the press release here.
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
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
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.
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
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
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