On August 3, 2021, African faith leaders 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) on September 2 to demand that donors stop funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AFSA in June sent a letter to the Gates Foundation and other donors, including USAID, UKAID, and the Rockefeller Foundation, to shift their funding away from AGRA and toward agroecology. They received few responses and no evidence of AGRA's effectiveness.
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 leaders are reportedly preparing a fund drive to raise $1 billion in new funding at the September African Green Revolution Forum hosted by AGRA. In the face climate change and rising hunger, it is time to take a different path: the future is agroecology.
Latest Campaign News
On September 2, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) held a press conference. African social movements are demanded that funding for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) be stopped. Their call is spelled out in a letter delivered during AGRA’s annual African Green Revolution Forum.
In August 2021, an alliance of African faith leaders delivered a powerful message to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Stop promoting failing and harmful high-input Green Revolution programs, such as AGRA. At a virtual press conference, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) released its public letter to the Gates Foundation, which it sent 500 signatures from African faith and farming communities. They have received neither an acknowledgment nor a response from the Foundation. Read the press statement here.
Read a new report on AGRA and policy influence, "A Sting in the AGRA Tale: Independent expert evaluations confirm that the Alliance for a Green Revolution has failed."
Read "Bill Gates Should Stop Telling Africans What Kind of Agriculture Africans Need" by Million Belay and Bridget Mugambe published in Scientific American on July 6, 2021.
- AGRA is allegedly preparing a campaign to raise $1 billion in the coming months to fund its promotion of industrialized agriculture through 2030. Read why continuing to fund green revolution practices in Africa would be throwing good money after bad.
Key Research and Findings
- Africa’s Choice: Africa’s Green Revolution has failed, time to change course, IATP policy brief, July 2020 (Also available in French).
- Another False Start in Africa with Green Revolution Myths, by Timothy A. Wise with Jomo Kwame Sundaram, IPS News, April 20, 2021.
- Failing Africa’s Farmers: An Impact Assessment of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, GDAE Working Paper No. 20-01, July 2020.
- African Farmers: Key to Solving Malnutrition, Food Tank, July 18, 2020.
- Replacing Hunger with Malnutrition: Former UN official calls out failing African Green Revolution, IATP article, August 19, 2020.
- Failing Africa’s Farmers, Starving the Continent, IPS News, September 8, 2020.
- A few questions for AGRA on farming revamp, Kenya Business Daily, Sept. 9, 2020
- Africa at the Crossroads: Time to Abandon Failing Green Revolution, Million Belay and Timothy A. Wise, IPS News, September 23, 2020.
- Pressure builds on Gates Foundation, AGRA for accountability,” IATP article, October 13, 2020
- Gates Foundation’s Green Revolution Fails Africa’s Farmers, chapter in Navdanya International, “Gates to a Global Empire,” October 2020.
- Agricultural Revolution: “Gates Foundation is leading Africa to failure,” Tchak! Magazine (Belgium-French), October 21, 2020.
- AGRA Update: Withheld internal documents reveal no progress for Africa’s farmers, IATP article, February 25, 2021.
- Africa’s Green Revolution: Few gains, no transparency,” Kenya Star, March 8, 2021.
- Low farm yields, incomes dampen Africa’s green revolution dream, Business Daily, March 10, 2021.
Stories from African Voices
- African faith communities tell the Gates Foundation, "Big farming is no solution for Africa", Biz News TV, August 11, 2021.
- 94.1 KPFA "A Rude Awakening" radio interview with Francesca de Gasparis, August 6, 2021.
- Africa Says, "I Can't Breathe": An African Civil Society Perspective on Systemic Racism, By Million Belay, Common Dreams, June 10, 2020.
AGRA’s Failure to Provide Data and be Accountable
Shifting Funding from AGRA to Agroecology
In Diversity There is Strength: Moving beyond the Green Revolution in Zambia
African groups want Gates Foundation, USAID to shift agricultural funding amid worsening hunger crisis, USRTK, September 8, 2021.
Critiques of Gates Foundation agricultural interventions in Africa, USRTK, September 2, 2021.
Bill Gates’ radical menu for food systems: ultra-processed foods, patents, monocrops, USTRK, May 26, 2021.
The next neocolonial gold rush? African food systems are the ‘new oil,’ UN documents say, USRTK, March 9, 2021.
Why we’re tracking Bill Gates’ plans to remake our food systems, USRTK, February 26, 2021.
How the Gates Foundation is driving the food system, in the wrong direction, GRAIN, June 17, 2021.
Calls for halt to funding for industrial agriculture — Sci Dev Net
Fiddling in Nairobi While Africa Goes Hungry — IPS News
How the Green Revolution Is Harming Africa — Project Syndicate
AGRA "fails to deliver on promise to double yields' — Sci.Dev.net
- Gates 'failing green revolution in Africa' — The Ecologist
More recent media coverage & multimedia content here.