AGRA Watch is a grassroots, Seattle-based group challenging the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s questionable agricultural programs in Africa, including its Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The Gates Foundation and AGRA claim to be “pro-poor” and “pro-environment,” but their approach is closely aligned with transnational corporations, such as Monsanto, and foreign policy actors like USAID. They take advantage of food and global climate crises to promote high-tech, market-based, industrial agriculture and generate profits for corporations even while degrading the environment and dis-empowering farmers. Their programs are a form of philanthrocapitalism based on biopiracy.
In October, 2014, AGRA Watch, a program of Community Alliance for Global Justice, will host a historic three-day strategy meeting between African and US food sovereignty leaders. The meetings will serve to deepen the international struggle against the Gates Foundation’s agricultural interventions in Africa both directly and through its subsidiary—Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
A public event will be held with the participants of the meeting on the evening of Sunday, October 12 – save the date!
In recent years, the push for industrial, corporate-controlled agriculture has dramatically intensified on both domestic and international fronts. In the U.S., biotech companies have continued to promote new and untested genetically engineered (GE) seeds for agency approval, used the US Trade Representative and USAID to push their narrow interests onto the policies of other nations, and lobbied legislators relentlessly to secure passage of new GE-friendly laws. Meanwhile, the African continent is being targeted by a powerful confluence of outside initiatives—most from the U.S.— devoted to pushing an industrial agricultural development model that largely benefits transnational corporations at the expense of African farmers, consumers, and the environment. Chief among these is the Gates Foundation and AGRA with their agenda to “improve” African agriculture through inappropriate, high-tech, pro-corporate policies and practices.
Since 2008, AGRA Watch has partnered with African small-scale farmer and food sovereignty movements to challenge this dominant pro-corporate model being pushed “in their backyard.” Together we are demanding policies and investments that support small-scale, agro-ecological agricultural development and local markets.
In the October meetings, food and agricultural activist leaders from eight African countries will help provide an on-the-ground perspective regarding these continent-wide foreign interventions and the African-led movement to transform agricultural development to a more sustainable and socially just model.
Expected African participants:
To learn more, please email us: AGRA Watch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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