Our farmer-managed seed systems in Africa are being criminalized and displaced by a very aggressive green revolution project of corporate occupation by big multinational companies. This violent agrarian transformation is facing profound objection. African farmer organizations are outraged because decisions have been made and imposed on us in a very patronizing, patriarchal way, as if the agrarian vision and solution has been designed for us.
The Gates Foundation is funding the green revolution, along with the many governments linked to the old hub of capitalism, including your government [the US], the UK and the Netherlands. It is working in very close partnership with around 80 African seed companies. The Gates Foundation is the kingpin in charge of coordinating the various green revolution initiatives taking place in Africa.
The green revolution projects are a very expensive technological package for farmers to buy into. Tens of millions of small-scale, resource-poor farmers cannot afford the high costs of inputs unless they’re subsidized by our governments or your taxpayer money. This money goes into the public purse and out to agribusiness such as Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred for hybrid or improved seed and agrochemicals.
Investment has become a euphemism for land grabs, disposition and dislocation of our communities. We’ve already seen the beginnings of corporate control and concentration of our seed sector. Monsanto and Pioneer Hi Bred, both U.S. multinational companies, control most of the hybrid maize market in southern Africa. Through the acquisition of South Africa’s maize company, Panaar Seed, by Pioneer HiBred, hybrid pioneer [seeds] will make a lot of incursions [elsewhere] into Africa.
We see and fear a great deal of social dislocation, of collapse of our farming systems — and it’s already happened. In industrialized-agriculture countries like South Africa, farmers have become completely deskilled and divorced from production decisions, which are made in laboratories or in far-away board rooms.