AGRA Watch logo
Seattle-based AGRA Watch, an activist organization that believes the Gates Foundation’s approach to agricultural reform in Africa is environmentally, economically and ethically unsound, today released a protest letter signed by more than 100 organizations, food experts and scientists opposed to the strategy.
The letter was released to coincide with street protests in Cancun held by groups angry with the nature of the climate talks going on there this week. (Note: KPLU’s Liam Moriarty is there, and reports here.)
“The Gates Foundation is promoting a Western, industrialized agricultural approach that serves corporate interests, not the needs of poor farmers worldwide, a strategy that will also do serious damage to the environment,” said Phil Bereano, a member of AGRA Watch and a retired UW professor of technology policy.
Agricultural reform is a key mission of the Gates Foundation, which helped launch an organization based in Africa devoted to this called AGRA, the Allliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Continue reading
Flickr, by sarniebill1
The Guardian recently published a post on its new online Global Development site (funded by the Gates Foundation) in which their environmental writer demanded that the Seattle mega-philanthropy explain why it had recently upped its investments in Monsanto.
Monsanto is big on genetically modified seeds and crops. The Gates Foundation is trying to spur an agricultural revolution in Africa. Some see this as an unholy alliance to spread genetically modified organisms across the planet (lots of GMO crops are already all over the U.S., as it turns out).
Not surprisingly, many people commented on this article.
But I wanted to highlight one response posted the other day from Mark Suzman, advocacy director for global development at the Gates Foundation.
Below is Mark’s statement printed in entirety: Continue reading
Flickr, World Bank
Planting in Kenya
Boosting agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa is critical to the fight against poverty and improving health on the continent.
The question is how.
Last week, the Gates Foundation came under criticism for significantly increasing its investments in Monsanto. Many took it as a clear sign the world’s biggest philanthropy is championing the use of genetically modified crops, since this is the company leading the world in the production of GM seeds and crops. Continue reading