Bill Gates’ failing Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Eric Holt-Giménez and Lauren Tate Baeza | 07.25.2016
For a decade, Bill Gates—the quintessential technocrat—has been trying to end hunger in Africa by re-launching (yet again) the Green Revolution. One could forgive his mistakes as a development neophyte if the stakes were not so high and the mistakes were not so predictable. His brainchild is AGRA—the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. AGRA’s main goal is to increase farmers’ grain yields with credit, chemical fertilizers and hybrid seeds. Aware that fertilizer application alone ultimately destroys soils in the tropics, AGRA also promotes soil-building with nitrogen-fixing legumes. Independent analyses of AGRA’s work are rare, so the recent release of a report on two of AGRA’s projects in Malawi by the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) quickly spread over the internet. Entitled “Green Revolution Dead End in Malawi,” the report is highly critical of AGRA’s approach to agricultural development.