En av kronprinsens beste venner er Bill Gates. Her følger en artikkel om litt av hva han holder på med. Det er dyster lesning.
The Gates Foundation is spending half a billion dollars a year to ‘feed the world’, most of it aimed at Africa. But as GRAIN discovers, it is imposing a model of high-tech, high-input ‘green revolution’ farming, complete with GMOs, agro-chemicals and a pro-business neoliberal agenda, all in an alliance with corporate agriculture.
A business advisor for TechnoServe discusses farming techniques with a Ugandan
farmer. Technoserve is the NGO receiving the most funds from the Gates Foundation
— a US-based NGO that develops ‘business solutions to poverty’.
Listening to farmers and addressing their specific needs. We talk to farmers about the crops they want to grow and eat, as well as the unique challenges they face. We partner with organizations that understand and are equipped to address these challenges, and we invest in research to identify relevant and affordable solutions that farmers want and will use. — The first guiding principle of the Gates Foundation’s work on agriculture (1)
At some point in June this year, the total amount given as grants to food and agriculture projects by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation surpassed the US$3 billion mark.
It marked quite a milestone. From nowhere on the agricultural scene less than a decade ago, the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the world’s major donors to agricultural research and development.
The Gates Foundation is arguably the biggest philanthropic venture ever. It currently holds a $40 billion endowment, made up mostly of contributions from Gates and his billionaire friend Warren Buffet.
The foundation has over 1,200 staff, and has given over $30 billion in grants since its inception in 2000, $3.6 billion in 2013 alone.(2)
Most of the grants go to global health programmes and educational work in the US — traditionally the foundation’s priority areas. But in 2006-2007, the foundation massively expanded its funding for agriculture, with the launch of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and a series of large grants to the international agricultural research system (CGIAR).
In 2007, it spent over half a billion dollars on agricultural projects and has maintained funding at around this level. The vast majority of the foundation’s agricultural grants focus on Africa.
Imposing a neoliberal policy agenda
Spending so much money gives the foundation significant influence over agricultural research and development agendas. As the weight of the foundation’s overall focus on technology and private sector partnerships has begun to be felt in the global agriculture arena, it has raised opposition and controversy, particularly around its work in Africa.
Critics say that the Gates Foundation is promoting an imported model of industrial agriculture based on the high-tech seeds and chemicals sold by US corporations. They say the foundation is fixated on the work of scientists in centralised labs and that it chooses to ignore the knowledge and biodiversity that Africa’s small farmers have developed and maintained over generations.
Some also charge that the Gates Foundation is using its money to impose a policy agenda on Africa, accusing the foundation of direct intervention on highly controversial issues like seed laws and GMOs.
GRAIN looked through the foundation’s publicly available financial records to see if the actual flows of money support these critiques. We combed through all the grants for agriculture that the Gates Foundation gave between 2003 and September 2014.(3)
We then organised the grant recipients into major groupings (see Table 2) and constructed a database which can be downloaded as a spreadsheet (Excel) or as a more printer-friendly table(PDF) from GRAIN’s website.(4)
Here are some of the conclusions we were able to draw from the data.
1. The Gates Foundation fights hunger in the South by giving money to the North
Graph 1 and Table 1 give the overall picture. Roughly half of the foundation’s grants for agriculture went to four big groupings:
- the CGIAR’s global agriculture research network;
- international organisations (World Bank, UN agencies, etc.);
- AGRA (set up by Gates itself); and
- the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
The other half ended up with hundreds of different research, development and policy organisations across the world. Of this last group, over 80% of the grants were given to organisations in the US and Europe, 10% went to groups in Africa, and the remainder elsewhere.
Table 2 lists the top 10 countries where Gates grantees are located and the amounts they received, highlighting some of the main grantees. By far the main recipient country is Gates’s own home country, the US, followed by the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
When it comes to agricultural grants by the foundation to universities and national research centres across the world, 79% went to grantees in the US and Europe, and a meagre 12% to recipients in Africa.
The North-South divide is most shocking, however, when we look at the NGOs that the Gates Foundation supports. One would assume that a significant portion of the frontline work that the foundation funds in Africa would be carried out by organisations based there. But of the $669 million that the Gates Foundation has granted to non-governmental organisations for agricultural work, over three quarters has gone to organisations based in the US. Africa-based NGOs get a meagre 4% of the overall agriculture-related grants to NGOs.
2. The Gates Foundation gives to scientists, not farmers
As can be seen in Graph 2, the single biggest recipient of grants from the Gates Foundation is the CGIAR, a consortium of 15 international agricultural research centres.
In the 1960s and 70s, these centres were responsible for the development and spread of a controversial Green Revolution model of agriculture in parts of Asia and Latin America which focused on the mass distribution of a few varieties of seeds that could produce high yields — with the generous application of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Read on...