Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Where Does The Money Go? - Grants For Agriculture

“Listening to farmers and addressing their specific needs” is the first guiding principle of the Gates Foundation's work on agriculture. But it is hard to listen to someone when you cannot hear them. Small farmers in Africa do not participate in the spaces where the agendas are set for the agricultural research institutions, NGOs or initiatives, like AGRA, that the Gates Foundation supports. These spaces are dominated by foundation reps, high-level politicians, business executives, and scientists.
Listening to someone, if it has any real significance, should also include the intent to learn. But nowhere in the programmes funded by the Gates Foundation is there any indication that it believes that Africa's small farmers have anything to teach, that they have anything to contribute to research, development and policy agendas. The continent's farmers are always cast as the recipients, the consumers of knowledge and technology from others. In practice, the foundation's first guiding principle appears to be a marketing exercise to sell its technologies to farmers. In that, it looks, not surprisingly, a lot like Microsoft.

  Gates Foundation agricultural grant recipients, top 10 countries 2003-2014
 (taken from here)

The numbers are US$ millions:
USA 880 By far the largest recipient country of Gates agricultural grants meant to benefit farmers in poor countries: $880 million dished out in 254 grants. Recipients include US universities and research institutions to produce for crop varieties and biotechnology research for farmers in Africa (e.g. Cornell University, $90m in 12 grants), big NGO projects mostly oriented to develop technology and markets (e.g. Heifer, $51m, to increase cow productivity and Technoserve Inc., $47m, to help poor farmers to “build business that create income”), and several policy and capacity building projects to push the foundation's agenda in Africa and elsewhere.
UK 156 A total of 25 grants with a focus on academic research such as for the University of Greenwich to work on cassava value chains in several African countries (16.6 m), the University of Cambridge to work on epidemiological modelling on wheat and cassava diseases ($4.2m) and the John Innes Centre to test the feasibility cereal crops capable of fixing nitrogen ($9.8m).
Germany 115 Three grants for the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) to develop supply chains for African ca shews and for support to African rice farmers ($51.1m), and another three grants for the German Investment Corporation to work on African cotton and coffee farming ($48.8m), amongst others.
Netherlands 61 Mostly for two grants to the Wageningen University for agronomic research on grain legumes ($47.8m)
India 41 Total of ten grants including two grants to PRADAN ($30.8m for women farmers training), and to BAIF ($6.3 m. for establishment of cattle development centres)
China 37 Mostly for the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (two grants totalling $33 million) to develop new rice varieties for farmers across the world.
South Africa 37 14 grants to a variety of grantees, including the FANRPAN network to carry out agriculture programmes ($16m), University of Pretoria ($4.5m for policy research) Sangonet ($1.7m. for mobile phone applications for farmers), SACAU (two grants $5.8m to support farmers organisations and electronic farmer management systems, and the Association of African Business Schools ($1.5m to develop agribusiness management and training programmes).
Uganda 36 Mostly for RUFORUM (two grants totalling over $30 million to support agricultural research universities in the region). RUFORUM was established as a programme of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1992 and became an independent Regional University Forum in 2004.
Australia 30 A total of 14 grants mostly to universities and research centres to develop sorghum and cowpea hybrids for Africa and other sorghum breeding programmes, deliver solutions to dairy cattle genetics in poor countries, and supply cattle genotypes to dairy farmers in East Africa, amongst others.
Canada 20 A total of 8 grants mostly to universities to ensure adoption of new technologies, develop cassava seed supply chains in Tanzania, and radio programmes in Africa, amongst others.
Total top 10 1413 $1.4 billion, or almost half of all agriculture funding from Gates in the last decade went to grantees in these 10 countries: 90% to the North.      

No comments: