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African Farmers to UK: Stop Funding ‘Climate-Stupid’ Agriculture on Our Continent

September 12, 2022
The Canary

Tracy Keeling

Millions of African people have demanded that the UK and others cease funding an agricultural initiative on the continent. They say that the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) locks farmers into dependence on corporations and environmentally destructive practices. Instead, farmers, along with faith leaders and other civil society organisations (CSOs), have urged funders to redirect financing to initiatives that are ecologically sound and offer self-sufficiency for people.

Corporate control of agriculture

AGRA’s name echoes that of an earlier ‘Green Revolution‘. Led mainly by the US, it imposed industrial agricultural practices on various parts of the world in the second half of the 20th Century.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) says that AGRA’s ‘revolution’ is similar. AFSA is a vast network of civil society groups from across Africa that advocates for food sovereignty and agroecological farming, meaning agricultural practices that harness and protect nature. In all, AFSA represents around 200 million people.

Like its earlier namesake, AGRA’s ‘revolution’ reduces farmers’ autonomy, making them reliant on artificial inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides supplied by corporations, the civil society alliance says. Moreover, these agrochemicals ravage the natural world – from waterways to insects – and play a central role in the world’s environmental crises.

So AFSA and other organisations have reiterated a call they made last year for defunding of the ‘revolution’. The call came just ahead of AGRA’s annual forum, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). It took place between 5-9 September in Rwanda.[…]

Working together

Despite this opposition to AGRA among civil society, institutions and policymakers appear to have largely embraced it.

One such institution is the African Development Bank (ADB). In the press conference, Oakland Institute executive director Anuradha Mittal accused the financial institution of currently using:

the food price crisis to expand the use of industrial inputs to the benefit of agrochemical and agribusiness firms