Dear Friends and Colleagues

An Agroecological Revolution Not a Green Revolution Will Feed Africa

A new paper analyses the current wave of Green Revolution interventions in Africa, which includes genetically modified (GM) crops. The adoption by African governments of the Green Revolution agenda in regional and national policies has provided impetus for the privatisation and corporatisation of African agriculture as has externally driven interventions by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), Grow Africa and others.

South Africa, Sudan and Burkina Faso are the only countries on the continent growing GM crops commercially. In Southern and East Africa, various players of foreign agribusiness and the biotech industry are redoubling their efforts to introduce GM crops into the rest of the continent and to reshape Africa’s agricultural and biosafety policy environment. Bt cotton has, however, been phased out in Burkina Faso and undermined the global reputation of Burkinabe lint.There is meanwhile a great deal of R&D currently underway into the genetic modification of traditional African crops such as cowpea, cassava, sorghum, sweet potato, pigeon pea and millet.

The paper explains how African traditional small-scale agriculture has fed populations for centuries. Africa has about 33 million small farmers, many of them women, who produce 80% of the food consumed in Africa on less than 15% of available land. The paper provides evidence to show that agroecological farming systems can feed a growing African population, protect livelihoods and regenerate ecological resources.

The paper argues strongly for a transition from a chemical approach to a biological approach; from a Green Revolution to an Agroecological Revolution; putting smallholder producers and their food sovereignty at the centre, rather than benefitting a few large-scale corporations with detrimental ecological, socio-economic, and nutritional outcomes. Many farmers are reportedly already being displaced by forces of competition, concentration and land grabs and forced into poorly paid work in mines or factories. Policy reforms required to enable this transformation are:unblocking ideological barriers biased in favour of industrial agriculture; understanding the ways to facilitate and augment agroecological practices and local and traditional knowledge systems; and the reorientation and prioritization of public goods.

The paper entitled "Who will feed Africans? Small-scale farmers and agroecology not corporations!" can be downloaded from:

With best wishes,

Third World Network
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