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The Failure of the “Green Revolution” Promised by Rockefeller and Gates

February 21, 2022
The Journal of Africa

Anouar Diden

Sixteen years after the launch of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), funded by the Rockefeller and Gates family foundations, what results for the “green revolution” in Africa?

The NGO Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has drawn the wrath of almost all African leaders in terms of ecology, agriculture and sustainable development.

Launched in 2006 in Kenya, the NGO has promised colossal funding, notably from the Bill and Melinda Gates (BMGF) and Rockefeller foundations. Promises, which are slow to turn into actions. The activity of the NGO, in 13 African countries, raises questions.

On September 2, 2021, during the annual press conference preceding the opening of AGRA's "Green Revolution Forum", African civil societies denounced the NGO's poor strategy and ineffectiveness.

"What African farmers need is support for climate resilience, rather than industrial-scale, profit-driven farming systems," said Francesca de Gasparis, director of the Institut de l'Institut. Environment of Religious Communities in Southern Africa (SAFCEI).

But it was an open letter addressed to AGRA on the part of its first African partner, AFSA, which set things on fire: AFSA, in this text, denounced the failure of the Kenyan NGO and the ineffectiveness of its American donors.

Embezzlement charges

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), which brings together 35 entities - unions, associations and conglomerates - and represents 200 million food producers, has launched a campaign portraying AGRA as "a misguided project". According to AFSA, AGRA had “failed in its mission to increase the productivity of agriculture in Africa and reduce food insecurity”.

For AFSA, as well as the 176 NGO signatories to its open letter, “AGRA has undermined broader efforts to support African agriculture”.

Since then, AGRA's loss of credibility has had fatal consequences on the NGO's activity and the image of its benefactors. The Gates couple's foundation and the Rockfellers were accused, in particular, of having simply lied about their declarations. They would have, according to several American media, used AGRA to “promote the personal images of the Gates and the Rockefellers, without spending a penny in the project”.

Read: What future for the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation in Africa?

Charges that no one seeks to confirm or deny. For the think-tank Oakland Institute, AGRA was planned without real African participation, and “imposes unrealistic technological solutions to complex and deep social problems”.

“AGRA forces the hand of farmers who participate in the program, who lose power over their seeds and are now forced to buy from big companies. This causes the marginalization of African farmers that the NGO aimed to help, and promotes the agenda of foreign companies whose competitiveness in Africa remains questionable,” says the Oakland Institute.