Tycoon Aid

14 Sep 2006

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it is in joining forces with the Rockefeller Foundation to increase agricultural productivity and alleviate hunger in Africa. The initial investment will be $150 million, $100 million from the Gates Foundation and $50 million from the Rockefeller Foundation, with the possibility of further future financial assistance.

The project is to be a continuation of the “Green Revolution” project carried out by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations from the 1940s through 1960s, bringing new farming technology to Latin America and Asia. It successfully increased grain production in these areas, reducing the problem of widespread famine in many countries. A decade ago the Rockefeller Foundation started shifting its attention to Africa.

The program calls for developing improved seed varieties, training crop scientists and setting up more efficient seed distribution methods as well as increasing financing, access and marketing for farmers.

Critics of the Green Revolution claim that it damages animal life and the environment by introducing new pesticides and that it encourages capitalist market systems.

“Narrowly focusing on increasing production – as the Green Revolution does – cannot alleviate hunger because it fails to alter the tightly concentrated distribution of economic power, especially access to land and purchasing power,” Peter Rosset wrote in 2000, when he was executive director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy.

Source: The International Herald Tribune

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