The latest from Timothy A. Wise and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy View this email in your browser
Fourteen years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller foundations launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with the goal of bringing Africa its own Green Revolution in agricultural productivity. Armed with high-yield commercial seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, AGRA eventually set the goal to double productivity and incomes by 2020 for 30 million small-scale farming households while reducing food insecurity by half in 20 countries.
According to a new report from a broad-based civil society alliance, based partly on my new background paper
“The results of the study are devastating for AGRA and the prophets of the Green Revolution,” says Jan Urhahn, agricultural expert at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, which funded the research and on July 10 published “False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
[image: False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)]
*A Record of Failure*
As I document in my background paper, “Failing Africa’s Farmers: An Impact Assessment of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa,”
Surprisingly, as AGRA reaches its self-declared deadline of 2020, the organization has published no overall evaluation of the impacts of its programs on the number of smallholder households reached, the improvements in their yields and household incomes, or their food security. Neither has the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. AGRA declined my request to provide data from its own internal monitoring and evaluation of progress. This lack of accountability represents a serious oversight problem for a program that has both consumed so much in the way of resources and driven the region’s agricultural development policies with its narrative of technology-driven, input-intensive agricultural development.
You can find a summary of key findings in this *article on the IATP website
Rwanda, widely considered an AGRA success story thanks to rising maize production and yields, illustrates AGRA’s failings. Overall productivity improvements across staple crops have been weak, while the number of undernourished has increased 15% in the AGRA years. Rwanda’s former Agriculture Minister, Agnes Kalibata, now heads AGRA and was recently named to lead a planned U.N. World Food Summit in 2021.
“AGRA’s questionable approach cannot provide the necessary impetus for the U.N. Summit on Food Systems,” says Stig Tanzmann, agricultural expert at Bread for the World and one of the report’s authors.
That summit should instead actively consider agroecology and other low-cost, low-input approaches, which have shown far better short and long-term prospects than high-input Green Revolution practices. One University of Essex study
“AGRA is a vicious circle that drives small-scale food producers further and further into poverty, destroying their natural resources,” says Mutinta Nketani, an agricultural specialist from PELUM Zambia and author of the report’s case study on Zambia.
*The study “False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)” can be downloaded here
For more of my past work on this, visit my IATP research page on The Future of Food
*IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. IATP has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Washington D.C. and Berlin.* iatp.org
*Our mailing address is:* Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 2105 1st Ave S
Add us to your address book
Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences