Conference on African Agroecological Alternatives to the Green Revolution
November 27, 2007 - 8:00am
African farmer organizations will meet on November 27-28, 2007 to discuss ecological alternatives to the Bill & Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations' proposal for a new Green Revolution in Africa.
The Gates/Rockefeller Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) will use a combined $150 million over five years to promote higher yields through hybrid seeds, fertilizers, and western-style crop management. Farmer advocacy groups, including Via Campesina-Africa, the African Center for Bio-Safety, IRPAD--Mali, and Food First do not think that Gates and Rockefeller have adequately considered the negative consequences of this strategy that include farmer indebtedness, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate change, reduction of agricultural biodiversity and the undermining of farmers' food sovereignty.
(See: foodfirst.org/issues/africanfoodsovereignty and foodfirst.org/issues/greenrevolution.)
Equally important, while international seed, fertilizer and genetic engineering industries have been extensively consulted, African farmers were not. Further, there are no mechanisms in the Green Revolution institutions to ensure project transparency, accountability, or a substantive role for farmers in decision making processes.
The Mali conference will discuss African agroecological alternatives for promoting food security and food sovereignty in rural Africa. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, farming communities are already implementing sustainable agroecological methods for food production that include locally-improved seeds, soil and water conservation, composting and green manures, agroforestry, and integrated pest management. Practitioners of sustainable agriculture will confer with food sovereignty advocates to determine the best practices, policies and delivery systems for advancing sustainable agriculture in Africa.