The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, and 15 other Food Sovereignty campaign organisations have urged Global North Governments to stop all financial and political support for the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, and other initiatives promoting the Green Revolution.
They were encouraged instead to channel their support to agroecology, if Africa is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, target of halving hunger in 20 countries of the continent.
The groups’ position is coming on the heels of new evidence of AGRA’s failure to double agricultural yields, among other promises, which were exposed in its own internal mid-term evaluation and an 11- country evaluation on its website.
The evidence confirms an earlier report in “False Promises” Study: The AGRA Approach Has Failed, which was published in July 2020 by an alliance of five African and five German organisations.
Central to that study was the question of whether AGRA has achieved its own goals of doubling agricultural yields and the incomes of 30 million small-scale food producer households, thereby halving both hunger and poverty in 20 African countries by 2020.
AGRA’s Green Revolution approach did not provide farmers involved in its projects with incomes that are above the poverty line, the self-evaluation reveals.
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It exposed how AGRA has systematically exerted political influence on fertilizer and seed legislation in partner-countries in favour of agribusiness and to the detriment of smallholder producers, among other things by sending staff or providing direct financial support to ministries or advisory bodies of African governments.
In this way, it promotes and creates, through financial and other contributions, an institutional framework in many of its focus countries that makes its own Green Revolution approach binding through laws and framework conditions.
In this way, AGRA ultimately legitimises itself.
The evaluation report for Nigeria illustrates how AGRA’s push to introduce seed laws is primarily aligned with industry interests.
In Tanzania the private sector can now access seed generated by public breeding. AGRA directly financed government agencies that worked on seven of the eight policy reforms in Ghana alone—four specifically in seed and artificial fertilizer.
It also developed the legislative proposals along the interests of the private sector rather than by furthering the interests of small-scale food producers.
In Uganda AGRA supported the national fertilizer platform, chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, which paved the way for the private sector to take over the quality control of fertilizer.
In Burkina Faso instead of addressing and improving existing farmer seed systems, AGRA attempts to abolish them through new seed laws and relies on hybrid seeds that lose their productivity once they are replanted.
Farmers are therefore compelled to buy seed every year.
ERA/FoEN Acting Executive Director, Chima Williams said: “We are not in any way surprised by AGRA’s internal report.
“Now we have a confirmation that their bogus claims of bumper yields for farmers are only intended to fool governments of the Global South, while they manipulate national laws to control food systems. Their dark secret has been exposed.”