The pressure continues to mount on donors to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to stop funding the failing 17-year initiative in favor of agroecological programs in Africa. African civil society and faith leaders greeted delegates to AGRA's 2023 Green Revolution Forum with an August 30 press conference decrying the exclusion of African farmer voices. (Watch the press conference, read the press release.) As IATP's Timothy A. Wise wrote for IPS News, AGRA is "Digging Africa Deeper into Hunger." There has been little change since a similar press conference the previous year highlighted donors' failure to respond to previous demands and calls to move Africa away from an unhealthy dependence on fossil-fuel-based fertilizers, the supposed catalyst for AGRA's productivity revolution.

A year earlier, African faith leaders had presented their open letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demanding that it stop promoting industrial agriculture in Africa. They joined the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) as a press conference to demand that donors stop funding AGRA.

According to research by IATP's Timothy A. Wise, the Green Revolution in Africa has failed to deliver on its goals of doubling productivity and incomes for 30 million small-scale farming households while reducing food insecurity by half by 2020. Far from reducing hunger, the number of undernourished people in AGRA's 13 focus countries increased 30% since AGRA's founding in 2006.

AGRA has offered no credible evidence of its success, yet its Board Chair defended the program in an opinion piece last year. AFSA responded with its own opinion piece: "Time to change course: The future is agroecology." IATP's Wise, who directs IATP's Future of Food project, published his own response to AGRA's opinion: "Time to change course, not double down on failing Green Revolution."

In February 2022, critics' warnings were confirmed by a donor-commissioned evaluation that concluded, "AGRA did not meet its headline goal of increased incomes and food security for 9 million smallholders.” IATP's Wise analyzed the evaluation and published a commentary calling for donors to stop funding AGRA. As US Right to Know reported, USAID quickly responded to the evaluation saying it would continue supporting AGRA.

African civil society and faith leaders responded with a March 30, 2022 briefing for U.S. congressional staff asking that Congress cut the funding for AGRA (see video and transcript of the briefing), a position summarized in Anne Maina's op-ed, "Congress Should Pull the Plug on USAID’S Failing African Green Revolution." Three representatives responded with an April 27 letter to the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee challenging continued funding for AGRA in this year's Global Food Security Act.

At the September 2022 Green Revolution Forum, AGRA announced a new five-year $550 million strategy for 2023-27 along with a "rebranding" that, remarkably, removes the words "green revolution" from AGRA's name. As IATP's Wise showed, such cosmetic changes fail to address any of critics' concerns about poor farmer impacts and the dangers of AGRA's promotion of fossil-fuel-driven agriculture. The Gates Foundation quickly pledged $200 million to AGRA, but IATP and allies continue to press other donors to pull away from the initiative.

Press coverage of the controversy has been widespread, including articles in Common DreamsSeattle Times, Politico, Le Monde, InterPress Service, Kenya's Daily Nation and outlets in 13 other African countries. See a full list of media coverage here

Digging Africa deeper into hunger
Digging Africa deeper into hunger

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Key Research and Findings

Additional Research 

African Civil Society Leaders' Voices for Change




AGRA’s Failure to Provide Data and be Accountable

Shifting Funding from AGRA to Agroecology

Media Coverage

Press coverage of the controversy has been widespread, including articles in the Seattle Times, Politico, Le Monde, InterPress Service, Kenya's Daily Nation, and outlets in 13 other African countries. (See a full list of media coverage here.)

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