Africans have long been told that our agriculture is backward and should be abandoned for a 21st-century version of the Green Revolution that enabled India to feed itself.
Western science and technology, in the form of seeds modified by science and technology, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and artificial irrigation are key to our food security, we are informed, and we, Africans, need to discard our ‘traditional’ ways of food production.
American billionaire and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is in the country for a week and is expected to announce Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s commitment to supporting ‘new innovations’ aimed at improving health, food security, and gender equality in Africa.
The Foundation’s agenda with agriculture in the continent has been coming under increased scrutiny. A 2020 report from Tufts University (Massachusetts, US) concluded that its work in Africa completely failed to meet the objectives that it had set itself.
The African Centre for Biodiversity has also published a string of reports denouncing the Gates Foundation for pushing GMOs and other harmful technologies onto Africa.
The other thing that should worry Kenyans is the Bill and Melinda Gates Trust Fund, which manages the Foundation’s billions, has huge investments in food and agribusiness companies, and is currently buying up huge farmlands across Africa. How safe are Kenyan farms?
In many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the Gates Foundation grants are used to push policymakers and politicians to implement its top-down industrial farming agenda in the continent through AGRA, one of the Foundation’s grantees.
Bill Gates’s visit to Kenya is not about making Kenya a food-sufficient nation. His Foundation’s resources help further the interests of Western multinational corporations interested in opening our markets up for agrochemicals, synthetic fertilizers, and genetically engineered seeds more than they assist farmers.