At the heart of the leading initiatives to ‘modernise’ African agriculture is a drive to open markets and create space for multinationals to secure profits. Green revolution technologies – and the legal and institutional changes being introduced to support them – will benefit a few at the expense of the majority. As world leaders gather at the high profile ‘Hunger Summit’ in London this week to endorse the spate of ongoing initiatives to ‘modernise’ African agriculture, 57 farmer and civil society organisations from 37 countries across the continent have slammed these efforts as “a new wave of colonialism”.

Harmonisation, free trade, and the creation of institutions and infrastructure to facilitate multinational companies’ penetration into Africa are presented as the answer to food insecurity on the continent. These large multinational seed, fertiliser and agrochemical companies are setting the agenda for the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa,” the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the implementation of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).