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Article : Big Ag and the Small-Scale African Farmer

Article : Big Ag and the Small-Scale African Farmer

The Gates Foundation spends billions on agriculture programs. But are they actually helping? This is the question asked by Valerie Schloredt in this article.

The article summurizes the main points of Wise’s book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food.

In 2006, the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation formed the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). "AGRA preached improved seeds (mainly commercial hybrid and genetically modified varieties), soils (mainly through increased use of synthetic fertilizer), and markets (for the distribution of such inputs and the infrastructure to bring products to market.) And it offered cash payments for those who converted to its particular version of African agricultural development." Those subsidies, he writes, were an ideal way to create dependency.

Wise pointed out that “neither the Gates Foundation, nor AGRA itself, nor the donor governments that contribute to AGRA from the global north, have any published evaluation of the effectiveness of that aid. …They promised when they launched AGRA that their goal was to double productivity and incomes for 30 million African small-scale farmer households by 2021. There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that that’s happening and they have not offered, that I’ve seen, any evidence that they’re having that effect.”

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