“You come. You buy the land. You make a plan. You build a house. Now you ask me, what color do I want to paint the kitchen? This is not participation!” – Simon Mwamba, East African Small-Scale Farmers’ Federation at a forum on AGRA
AGRA Watch is a grassroots, Seattle-based group that challenges the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s problematic agricultural development programs in Africa, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). In contrast, AGRA Watch supports African-initiated programs rooted in agroecological and indigenous farming practices, social equity, and food sovereignty – the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture systems. AGRA Watch is a campaign of Community Alliance for Global Justice.
The Gates Foundation and AGRA claim to be “pro-poor” and “pro-environment,” but their approach is closely aligned with the profit-driven agendas of transnational corporations, such as Monsanto, and foreign policy actors like USAID. These programs take advantage of global food and climate crises to promote the high-tech, market-based, industrial model of agricultural development pioneered by the first Green Revolution, with the addition of GMOs. The Green Revolution model has been ecologically and socially devastating, as it has degraded the environment and forced millions of indigenous peoples and subsistence farmers, the majority of them women, off their land into urban slums. In spite of short-term increases in crop yields, the number of hungry people worldwide has increased dramatically. The solution to hunger and poverty will not be found in a new Green Revolution linked to biotechnology and big agribusiness.
African communities, farmers, consumers, and civil society organizations already have locally-adapted solutions to the problems they face. AGRA Watch works in solidarity with these groups to resist undemocratic, unaccountable projects pushed from the outside and to build food systems based on sustainability, community and health. We will continue to participate in local, national and international organizing efforts that strengthen community-based solutions to hunger, poverty, and climate change on the African continent, in Seattle and the US, and around the world.