On October 15, 2009, Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Gates Foundation announced his $120 million grant to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA, an organization that was set up by the Gates Foundation in 2006, was developed under the pretext of ensuring that small farmers get the funding needed that will enable them to feed themselves and their communities. On the surface this looks like a great initiative because, finally, Africa is getting the help it needed for so long. However, as with anything that involves purveyors of capitalism and imperialism, there is an underlying agenda.
Understanding the Gates Agenda
Gates is at the forefront of promoting Genetically Modified (GMO) seeds which, arguably, does more harm than good. Gates has reportedly doled out 1.4 billion dollars in grants to help get poor developing nations on track in the avenues of agriculture and sustainability. Gates, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation and the government of Norway, is one of the financial backers of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located in the icy mountains of Norway. The project to build this massive underground vault was completed in February 2008. Agriculturalist from around the world have participated in this project by sending every possible specimen of non-GMO seeds to this bank to ensure its survival and reconstitution pending an environmental melt down +which could leave human beings scrambling to get what is behind this vault’s walls. One could argue that if the GMO seeds that Syngenta produces, were so good why not just manufacture them and put them in the vault.
Gates is not a Philanthropist or a Humanitarian; he is a Capitalist whose main objective is to become richer at the expense of the masses of people. His apparent generosity comes with a catch that will throw poor farmers into debt. Small farmers have to purchase this seed and all of the chemical insecticides and fertilizers that go along with it in order to yield a “good” harvest. These chemical insecticides are manufactured through one of the largest purveyors of chemical farming and genetic engineering, Monsanto.
We saw the devastating effect on India’s Rice farmers when in October –December of 2008 thousands of farmer committed suicide facing the loss of their land because of the debt incurred by farming with these government promoted GMO rice seeds.
In one instance it has been found that GMO or hybrid seeds degrade the soil inhibiting growth of any other types of seed for at least 10 years.
Why Africa is so important
As the Western world is becoming more and more dependent on Africa's abundant resources, because of its own scarcity, many Western and Eastern nations have turned to Africa not only to loot its mineral wealth but now to grow food for export to their own countries. The Grab for Africa is now coming in the form of a manufactured Green Revolution cloaked behind environmentalism but seeks to secure the survival of Imperialism while deepening the exploitation of African people.
Gates is another weapon of colonialism and domination in the ongoing war against African people. He, being one of the world’s richest men, can use his financial clout to inject these GMO seeds into our communities. Although no independent scientific research has been conducted on GMO seeds, the nutritional benefits are arguably extremely deficient than seeds that come from the earth. Let the technological whiz kids of the bio-tech labs tell it and they’ll say that these seeds will be the saving grace of Africa.
African people need to have control of their lands and access to technology that will help them grow food in a sustainable way.
Africans must say no!
Present studies reveal that 55% of the land on the continent is unsuitable for agricultural farming. This could be a result of the century’s long de-nutrionalizing of the soil by producing large amounts of the same crop for exportto western nations, and by-products of industrialization like soil contamination from industrial waste. This situation can only be exacerbated by the introduction of these nutrient robbing seeds that work to 1. Line the pockets of big capitalist organizations by keeping poor people in debt 2. Contaminate African people and the world’s population with genetic seed experiments 3. Continue a history of control, but this time targeting our life’s source, the very food we eat.
In every way that we can, Africans must say no to the bio-tech field’s advances to deposit their lab experiments within our communities. The survival of African People and the world depends on Africans alignment with nature and our historic ability to farm. Africans were targeted during the slave trade and colonialism, in many cases, for our ability to produce abundant crops. Ancient irrigation and farming techniques were used to provide sustenance for our colonizers (read Black Rice by Judith Carney).
As Africans we must rely on ourselves to engineer the best plan to feed the people. We must use what we have been taught and teach other Africans. We must reconstitute the soil in places like Haiti and Zimbabwe. We must say no to our governments leasing arable land to foreign governments to produce food for export. We must think of our own interests first.
Say no to GMO and AGRA and say yes to All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) to help African people the world over take control of their food source and ensure the best for coming generations. AAPDEP is on the ground in places Like Sierra Leone, Florida and California promoting self determination in our hands. Instituting programs like community health workers training, rainwater harvestings systems, community gardening and farming, and Birth Centers. AAPDEP’s primary objective is to ensure that we can not only maintain ourselves but to sustain ourselves through initiatives that will secure our own survival and empowerment.