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).

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 biosafety grants are all linked directly with, or are funded by, the biotechnology industry. These projects strategically avoid the promotion of GM crops that are in commercial production and instead focus on ‘pie in the sky’ nutritionally enhanced GM ‘biofortified’ and ‘climate-friendly’ drought-tolerant crops. This is done to win over the hearts and minds of reluctant Africans, while paving the path for the gene giants to gain a firmer and more respectable foothold in Africa.

The philanthropic money pouring into Africa from the Gates Foundation is being used to usher in two revolutions in African agriculture in tandem, one based on the classical Asian and Latin American Green Revolution, and the other based on GM technology. After all, the profit makers in both scenarios are one and the same and have the same objective in mind, namely, the establishment of a dominant agricultural model based on agro-exports, free trade, and the use of chemical-intensive large-scale monocultures and GM organisms (GMOs).

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