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Misguided Philanthropy Cannot Feed Africa

March 18, 2009
IPS - Inter Press Service

by Anuradha Mittal

MARCH 2009 (IPS) - The biotech industry is using the increase in global hunger as a tool to win support for GM crops, writes Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute and the editor of Voices from Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak out Against the New Green Revolution.

In this analysis, Mittal writes that promotional campaigns for technological solutions to hunger regularly feature a handful of African spokespeople that drown out the genuine voices of farmers, researchers, and civil society groups and the fact that there is widespread opposition to genetic engineering in Africa.

In its enthusiasm to help Africa feed itself with a technology package involving the use of chemical inputs and genetically-modified seeds, the Gates Foundation has neglected to consult with the African farmers and communities they purport to help. The executive summary of a confidential Gates Foundation report proposes moving people out of the agricultural sector without specifying or addressing where or how this new "land mobile" population is to be rehabilitated or reemployed.