“Bad for African Farmers, Bad for the Planet”: How the Gates Foundation Is Driving the Food System in the Wrong Direction

From 2003 to 2020 the Foundation dished out a total of 1130 grants for food and agriculture, worth nearly $US6 billion of which almost US$5 billion is supposed to service Africa. There was no shift to try and reach groups in Africa directly, no refocusing away from the narrow technological approach, and no moves to embrace a more holistic and inclusive policy agenda.

Of course, the Gates Foundation is about much more than just making grants. The Foundation’s Trust Fund, which manages the Foundation’s endowment, has big investments in food and agribusiness companies, buys up farmland, and has equity investments in many financial companies around the world.7 These, and other activities of Gates in the area of food and agriculture, are illustrated in the infographic that accompanies this report.8

The Gates Foundation has given AGRA a whopping US$638 million since 2006, covering almost two thirds of its overall budget. But AGRA’s results are underwhelming to say the least. In the countries where AGRA is active, yields of staple crops increased only 18% over the past 12 years- far short of AGRA’s goal of doubling yields. Meanwhile, undernourishment (as measured by the FAO) increased by 30% in those countries.10

naturalblaze “Bad for African Farmers, Bad for the Planet”: How the Gates Foundation Is Driving the Food System in the Wrong Direction