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“Gates Ag One”: one more push to get farmers into high tech

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will set up a new ag research institute. Doesn't look like it will be different from the ones already there. "Gates Ag One" is really one more way to push the Gates agenda for agribusiness.

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will set up a new ag research institute. Doesn't look like it will be different from the ones already there. "Gates Ag One" is really one more way to push the Gates agenda for agribusiness.

How does the Gates Foundation spend its money to feed the world?

Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation added “feeding the world” to its objectives almost a decade ago, it has channelled an impressive three billion dollars towards agricultural projects, much of it to improve farming in Africa. But GRAIN analysed the foundation's agricultural grants records for the past decade and reached some sobering conclusions.

Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation added “feeding the world” to its objectives almost a decade ago, it has channelled an impressive three billion dollars towards agricultural projects, much of it to improve farming in Africa. But GRAIN analysed the foundation's agricultural grants records for the past decade and reached some sobering conclusions.

Another silver bullet for Africa?

Two leading US private charitable foundations – Rockefeller and Gates - have proclaimed a “new” Green Revolution for Africa. $150 million are to be poured into the continent in the form of new seeds, and in efforts to get small farmers to grow them. Yet none of this is new. It is the same recipe, using the same ingredients, and pushed by the same agency that perpetrated the original Green Revolution starting in the 1950s. It failed in Africa then because it failed to listen to – failed even to ask – the indigenous farmers, who had worked their land for generations.

Two leading US private charitable foundations – Rockefeller and Gates - have proclaimed a “new” Green Revolution for Africa. $150 million are to be poured into the continent in the form of new seeds, and in efforts to get small farmers to grow them. Yet none of this is new. It is the same recipe, using the same ingredients, and pushed by the same agency that perpetrated the original Green Revolution starting in the 1950s. It failed in Africa then because it failed to listen to – failed even to ask – the indigenous farmers, who had worked their land for generations.

Green Revolution ( Africa) Beta programme out now (trial version only)

As Microsoft's Gates prepares to throw US$ 100 million at a "new" Green Revolution for Africa, GRAIN questions whether the reliance on the private sector is really going to benefit the poor.

As Microsoft's Gates prepares to throw US$ 100 million at a "new" Green Revolution for Africa, GRAIN questions whether the reliance on the private sector is really going to benefit the poor.

Hands off our maize! Resistance to GMOs in Mexico

A broad mobilisation of students, peasants, indigenous networks, scientists and both national and international organisations has succeeded in blocking the release of GM maize in Mexico, the centre of origin for one of humanity's four most important crops.

A broad mobilisation of students, peasants, indigenous networks, scientists and both national and international organisations has succeeded in blocking the release of GM maize in Mexico, the centre of origin for one of humanity's four most important crops.

Land and seed laws under attack: who is pushing changes in Africa?

The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is changing seed and land laws across the continent to serve agribusiness corporations. The end goal is to turn what has long been held as a commons into a marketable commodity that the private sector can control and extract profit from at the expense of small holder farmers and communities.

The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is changing seed and land laws across the continent to serve agribusiness corporations. The end goal is to turn what has long been held as a commons into a marketable commodity that the private sector can control and extract profit from at the expense of small holder farmers and communities.

Barbarians at the barn: private equity sinks its teeth into agriculture

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

A new Green Revolution for Africa?

For some time now, there's been talk of a new Green Revolution for Africa – because "Africa missed the first Green Revolution" or because "the first Green Revolution missed Africa". Now a new project, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is trying to put the concept into operation. This paper aims to describe what a Green Revolution really signifies, why such projects haven't worked before and why AGRA won't work either, in order to help people trying to take positions at the local, national and regional levels.

For some time now, there's been talk of a new Green Revolution for Africa – because "Africa missed the first Green Revolution" or because "the first Green Revolution missed Africa". Now a new project, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is trying to put the concept into operation. This paper aims to describe what a Green Revolution really signifies, why such projects haven't worked before and why AGRA won't work either, in order to help people trying to take positions at the local, national and regional levels.

Corporate power: Agrofuels and the expansion of agribusiness

Corporate interest in agrofuels has gone from a casual trot to a full-on stampede over the last few years. For business and politicians alike, agrofuels are certainly one of the more palatable “renewable” forms of energy because they fit easily into the existing petroleum-based economy. But they also present opportunities for profit that the new order of “green” business has wasted no time in capturing. Big money is now flowing into agrofuel projects across the world – with big consequences.

Corporate interest in agrofuels has gone from a casual trot to a full-on stampede over the last few years. For business and politicians alike, agrofuels are certainly one of the more palatable “renewable” forms of energy because they fit easily into the existing petroleum-based economy. But they also present opportunities for profit that the new order of “green” business has wasted no time in capturing. Big money is now flowing into agrofuel projects across the world – with big consequences.

The global farmland grab by pension funds needs to stop

Money from pension funds has fuelled the financial sector's massive move into farmland investing over the past decade. The number of pension funds involved in farmland investment and the amount of money they are deploying into it is increasing, under the radar. This unprecedented take-over of farmland by financial companies has major implications for rural communities and food systems, and must be challenged. Leaving it to the companies to police themselves with their own voluntary guidelines is a recipe for disaster.

Money from pension funds has fuelled the financial sector's massive move into farmland investing over the past decade. The number of pension funds involved in farmland investment and the amount of money they are deploying into it is increasing, under the radar. This unprecedented take-over of farmland by financial companies has major implications for rural communities and food systems, and must be challenged. Leaving it to the companies to police themselves with their own voluntary guidelines is a recipe for disaster.

The Exxons of agriculture

World leaders are about to converge for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December, but there is only one major intergovernmental initiative that has emerged to deal with climate change and agriculture – and it is controlled by the world's largest fertiliser companies.

World leaders are about to converge for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December, but there is only one major intergovernmental initiative that has emerged to deal with climate change and agriculture – and it is controlled by the world's largest fertiliser companies.

Digital control: how Big Tech moves into food and farming (and what it means)

The world’s biggest technology companies and distribution platforms, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have started entering the food sector. What does this mean for small farmers and local food systems? This is leading to a strong and powerful integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to food consumers.

The world’s biggest technology companies and distribution platforms, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have started entering the food sector. What does this mean for small farmers and local food systems? This is leading to a strong and powerful integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to food consumers.

Convergence

Seedling approached a number of people working in different sectors and from different perspectives and get their views on the possibilities for convergence. Our ten-person panel includes people working in the fields of free and open software (FOSS), access to medicines, seeds, communications and the media. (large page - on slow connections, may take a while to download)

Seedling approached a number of people working in different sectors and from different perspectives and get their views on the possibilities for convergence. Our ten-person panel includes people working in the fields of free and open software (FOSS), access to medicines, seeds, communications and the media. (large page - on slow connections, may take a while to download)

Free trade and Mexico’s junk food epidemic

Transnational food companies are taking over traditional distribution channels in the South and replacing local foods with cheap, processed junk food, often with the direct support of governments. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to their success. The case of Mexico provides a stark picture of the consequences for the world's poorest people.

Transnational food companies are taking over traditional distribution channels in the South and replacing local foods with cheap, processed junk food, often with the direct support of governments. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to their success. The case of Mexico provides a stark picture of the consequences for the world's poorest people.

Socially responsible farmland investment: a growing trap

Rules on how to “responsibly” invest in farmland are popping up all over the place, from corporate boardrooms to UN meeting halls. But do they really help communities whose lands are being targeted or do they just help investors and the governments that are complicit with them? Where should we—as social movements trying to support communities—focus our efforts? Does it make sense to fight land grabbing by adopting rules on how to do it more responsibly? In this discussion paper, GRAIN aims to stimulate reflection and discussion on these important questions.

Rules on how to “responsibly” invest in farmland are popping up all over the place, from corporate boardrooms to UN meeting halls. But do they really help communities whose lands are being targeted or do they just help investors and the governments that are complicit with them? Where should we—as social movements trying to support communities—focus our efforts? Does it make sense to fight land grabbing by adopting rules on how to do it more responsibly? In this discussion paper, GRAIN aims to stimulate reflection and discussion on these important questions.