Lawrence Mkhaliphi is a farmer, agro-ecologist and South African activist opposed to the efforts of a Gates Foundation-funded initiative called AGRA, or the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
“The approach they have taken benefits large corporations and outsiders, not poor communities in Africa,” says Mkhaliphi, who says the issue of local ‘food sovereignty’ must be emphasized in these efforts to improve African agriculture — not just agricultural productivity alone.
“They (AGRA) are undermining local people’s power over their own livelihoods, over the ability to promote local solutions,” he contended in a brief discussion I had with him yesterday. “This will only make them poorer, with less control over their lives.”
Mkhaliphi, who is a leading member of an advocacy organization Biowatch South Africa, is on a U.S. tour and is speaking tonight under sponsorship by the Seattle organization AGRA Watch — which is also opposed to the efforts of AGRA and, generally, to what they perceive to be a Western, industrialized agricultural strategy imposed on Africa.
For more details about the event tonight, at 7 pm in Seattle’s Madison neighborhood, go here.