In News, Press Release

Nairobi, 7 September 2021

Today the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), representing some 200 million small-scale food producers, alongside 160 international organizations from 40 countries, release an open letter calling on donors to stop funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Our Alliance in June wrote to AGRA’s donors asking them to provide evidence to refute research showing that the 15-year-old industrial agriculture initiative has failed to improve incomes and food security for the millions of small-scale food producers it targeted. We received few responses and no credible evidence.

Now, as AGRA’s Green Revolution Forum opens, we challenge all donors to stop funding this false solution and shift their support to agroecology – a healthy, sustainable, resilient and culturally appropriate food system for Africa.

“We welcome investment in agriculture on our continent,” wrote AFSA General Coordinator Million Belay in a recent co-authored article in Scientific American, “But we seek it in a form that is democratic and responsive to the people at the heart of agriculture.”

The open letter was initiated by AFSA’s 35 member networks along with five allied organizations and now endorsed by 160 international organizations. AFSA presented its demands at a September 2 press conference and now issues a direct challenge to AGRA donors.

The text of the letter, available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, is copied below, and available as a PDF download here 

ENDS

Notes for editors

For more information and interviews contact:

Kirubel Teshome, AFSA Communications Officer, kirubel.tadele@afsafrica.org

Million Belay, PhD, General Coordinator, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, million.belay@afsafrica.org

Anne Maina, National Coordinator, Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya; anne.maina@bibakenya.org

Download this press release in Word here

More resources here

___________________________________________________

OPEN LETTER TO AGRA DONORS

Call to end support for Green Revolution programs in Africa

Dear donor representative,

We, 35 organizations from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and 165 allied organizations in 40 countries around the world, call on your agency to cease funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other Green Revolution programs and to support African-led efforts to expand agroecology and other low-input farming systems.

AFSA, the continent’s largest network of civil society organizations, wrote to AGRA donors in May 2021 asking for evidence of the program’s positive impacts. The network received few replies and no evidence.

AGRA has unequivocally failed in its mission to increase productivity and incomes and reduce food insecurity, and has in fact harmed broader efforts to support African farmers.

Over a decade of research has exposed the failure of AGRA on its own terms. After nearly 15 years and spending of more than US$1 billion to promote the use of commercial seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides in 13 African countries, and additional US$1 billion per year of African government subsidies for seeds and fertilizers, AGRA has failed to provide evidence that yields, incomes or food security increased significantly, and sustainably, for smallholder households across its target countries. Since the onset of AGRA’s program in 2006, the number of undernourished people across these 13 countries has increased by 30 percent. Even where staple crop production did increase, there was little reduction of rural poverty or hunger. Instead, diverse, climate-resilient crops that provide a more diverse and healthy diet for rural Africans have been displaced.

The role played by AGRA is of serious concern for several reasons:

  • It pursues an ill-conceived approach promoting monocultural commodity production heavily reliant on chemical inputs at the expense of sustainable livelihoods, long-term soil fertility, climate, and human development.
  • The strategy to convert farmers to “high-yield” commercial seeds, fertilizers and pesticides directly harms farmers as it increases their dependence on corporations and long supply chains for inputs and harms the environment. It also undermines resilience, and increases the risks of debt for small-scale farmers in the face of climate change.
  • AGRA uses its financial leverage to encourage African governments to focus on boosting agricultural yields at the expense of hunger and poverty on the continent, including centuries of exploitation of the continent’s people and natural resources that have not benefited Africans.

With AGRA’s president, Agnes Kalibata, leading the upcoming United Nations Food Systems Summit as UN Special Envoy, AGRA’s financial backing and influence allow its model to be wrongly presented as the way forward for the world. It is, in fact, part of the problem.

Hundreds of organizations from around the world have denounced the Food Systems Summit as an attempt to promote more corporate-led industrial agriculture around the world along AGRA’s model for Africa.

In June 2021, nearly 500 faith leaders across Africa sent a letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to end its damaging support for industrial agriculture. The letter, sent by the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), rejects the Foundation’s current approach to food security, in the face of the intensifying climate crisis, as doing more harm than good on the continent. They call on the Gates Foundation and other AGRA donors to listen to small-scale farmers and stop supporting industrial agriculture. We stand by the demands of these letters and ask your agency to listen to the voices of Africans in determining the efforts you support.

Whereas the world is faced with major human, environmental, and climate crises, it is urgent to change course and turn to a development model based on truly sustainable practices, equity, and justice. Farmers all over Africa have shown far more promising results sharing knowledge and working with scientists to establish low-input farming methods that leave the control of production in the hands of African farmers. We urge you to listen to the farmer movements from across the continent that have laid out their vision for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system (such as the Declaration of Nyéléni and the Addis Ababa Declaration).

As the African faith leaders asked the Gates Foundation, we call for “respect and support to locally-defined, holistic approaches that enable agroecological transitions to sustainable food systems in Africa.”

We therefore call on you to immediately stop funding detrimental Green Revolution programs such as AGRA so that peasant-led agroecological approaches and other low external-input farming systems may truly thrive.

SIGNED:

  • Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
  • Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya (BIBA Kenya)
  • Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch
  • GRAIN
  • Groundswell International
  • A Growing Culture
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • The Oakland Institute
  • Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

AFSA MEMBER NETWORKS

  • African Biodiversity Network (ABN)
  • African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
  • Association Ouest Africaine pour le Développement de la Pêche Artisanale (ADEPA)
  • Coalition pour la Protection du Patrimoine Génétique Africaine (COPAGEN)
  • Comité Ouest Africain de Semences Paysannes (COASP)
  • Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS Africa)
  • Eastern and Southern Africa Pastoralist Network (ESAPN)
  • Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF)
  • Faith & Justice Network of the Mano River Basin (FJN)
  • Farm-Saved Seeds Network (FASSNET)
  • Fédération Agroécologique du Bénin (FAEB)
  • Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA)
  • Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEA)
  • Global Justice Now!
  • Groundswell West Africa (GWA)
  • Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
  • Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC)
  • Institut Africain pour le Développement Economique et Social (INADES-Formation)
  • Institut Panafricain pour la Citoyenneté, les Consommateurs et le Développement (CICODEV Africa)
  • Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement (JVE International)
  • La Via Campesina SEAfrica
  • North African Food Sovereignty Network (NAFSN)
  • Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association
  • Plate-forme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC)
  • Regional Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme (ReSCOPE)
  • Réseau Africain pour le Droit à l’Alimentation (RAPDA –Togo)
  • Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA)
  • Tanzanian Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO)
  • Union Africaine des Consommateurs (UAC)
  • We are the Solution (WAS)
  • World Neighbors
  • Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB)

ENDORSED BY 160 ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS IN 40 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD

  • 350 Seattle
  • Acción Ecológica
  • Action for Community Transformation (ACT)
  • ActionAid International
  • Actions et Initiatives Locales d’Education de Paix et de Développement lnclusifs
  • ADeD/JINUKUN
  • Afar Pastoralist Development Association
  • African Beekeeping Resource Centre (ABRC)
  • Agro-Shrub Alliance
  • Agroecology Research-Action Collective
  • Agrosol
  • AILE- PDI TEETE
  • All India Union of Forest Working People AIUFWP
  • Ames Climate Action Team
  • Amis de la Terre France
  • ANCAR
  • ANEC AC
  • BioProtect
  • Bioscience Resource Project
  • Biotech Services Sénégal
  • Biovision Foundation
  • Biowatch South Africa
  • Both ENDS
  • Caribbean Agroecology Institute
  • Caritas Thies
  • Caritas Zambia
  • Casa Congo
  • CCFD-Terre Solidaire
  • Center for Food Safety (US)
  • Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR)
  • Centro Agrícola Cantonal de Quevedo
  • CFAPE-TOGO
  • Chikukwa Ecological Land Use Community Trust
  • CIDSE
  • Círculo Argentino de Agroecología
  • CLIMA Fund
  • CNABio
  • Colectivo Agroecológico del Ecuador
  • Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT)
  • Conservation Agriculture Namibia
  • Consumers Union of Japan
  • COPAGEN Burkina Faso
  • COPAGEN Niger
  • Corriente Agraria Nacional y Popular Chaco
  • CST Ethiopia
  • Dartmouth College
  • Yolanda Whyte Pediatrics
  • EarthLore Foundation NPC (EarthLore)
  • ECAO
  • Ecological organic agriculture Initiative (EOA I)
  • El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
  • ETC Group
  • FACHIG Trust
  • Fahamu Africa
  • Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre
  • Family Farm Defenders
  • Farmworker Association of Florida
  • FENEV
  • FIAN Belgium
  • FIAN Colombia
  • FIAN Germany
  • FIAN International
  • Focus on the Global South
  • Food in Neighborhoods Community Coalition
  • Food Sovereignty Ghana
  • Food, Agriculture & Society Program, Macalester College
  • Foro Feminista Magaly Pineda
  • Forum on Environment and Development
  • Friends of the Earth International
  • Friends of the Earth, U.S.
  • Friends of the MST (US)
  • FUGPN Mooriben
  • Fundación Semillas de Vida, A.C.
  • G-BIACK
  • Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB)
  • GE Free NZ in Food and Environment
  • Global Center for Climate Justice
  • Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • GMO Science
  • Granja Soleil en transición agroecologica razonada
  • Grassroots International
  • Green America
  • GRuB
  • Haki Nawiri Afrika
  • Harambee House, inc
  • Ileoge Farmers Market
  • Indigenous Strategy & Institution for Development(ISID)
  • Initiative for Agriculture and Rural Development in Mali
  • INKOTA-netzwerk
  • Inter Pares
  • Joint Action for Water
  • Justica Ambiental JA!
  • Kasisi Agricultural Training Center (KATC)
  • Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum
  • Landless Peoples Movement SA
  • Les Jardins de l’Espoir
  • Maendeleo Endelevu Action Program (MEAP)
  • Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Masifundise/WFFP
  • MASIPAG
  • Mazingira Institute
  • MELCA-Ethiopia
  • Mijarc
  • Millennium Institute
  • Moms Across America
  • National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • National Organic Actors Platform Uganda
  • Natures Wisdom
  • NeverEndingFood
  • Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute NBI-Zim
  • ONG La Grande Puissance de Dieu
  • Organic Consumers Alliance(OCA)
  • Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples
  • Pesticide Action Nexus Association
  • Presbyterian Church USA
  • Programme de Développement du Kasai
  • RAPAM
  • ReAct Transnational
  • Real Food Media
  • RECOWA
  • Red Correntina de Agroecologia
  • Rhedpat Organic intergrated Farms
  • Rural Vermont
  • Schola Campesina
  • Seeds Savers Network Kenya
  • Semillas de Identidad
  • SIDH-Sénégal
  • Small Planet Institute
  • Society for International Development
  • Soil Generation
  • Soils Food and Healthy Communities (SFHC)
  • SOS FAIM Luxembourg
  • Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON)
  • Southern Agricultural Research Institute
  • St Jude Family Projects
  • Strategies for Agro-Pastoralist’s Development
  • Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN)
  • Transnational Institute
  • TREEhouse Growing Eating Living
  • Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE)
  • Turning Green
  • UNAM, National University of Mexico
  • Unión de Scientíficos Comprometidos con la Sociedad
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
  • Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
  • Universidad Veracruzana
  • Village Volunteers
  • Voluntary Services Overseas
  • VRCC
  • WASCAL
  • Washington Biotechnology Action Council
  • WhyHunger
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US
  • Women’s Intl. League for Peace & Freedom, Boston, MA branch
  • World Public Health Nutrition Association
  • Young Green Women SierraLeone
  • Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)

 

 

 

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