The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) published an open letter to the Gates Foundation with 500 signatures from African faith and farming communities.
“Faith leaders are witnessing the negative impact of industrialized farming to the land and in their communities and have come together in this letter to say to the Gates Foundation: please re-think your approach to farming in Africa,” says SAFCEI Executive Director Francesca de Gasparis. Farmers and faith leaders urged donors to shift their funding to more effective and sustainable approaches such as agroecology. Input-intensive monoculture agriculture damages ecosystems
They have received neither an acknowledgement nor a response after two months from the Foundation.
“Farmers have become wary of programs that promote monoculture and chemical-intensive farming. They have lost control of their seeds. Now, they say they are being held hostage on their own farms,” says Celestine Otieno, a permaculture farmer from Kenya. “Is this food security or food slavery?”
South African agroecology farmer Busisiwe Mg
Fletcher Harper, director of GreenFaith, an international network, explained, “The plan of displacing millions of small holding farmers, using an industrial monoculture approach to farming, lacing the soil and water supplies with toxic chemicals and concentrating ownership of the means of production and land ownership in a small elite is an immoral and dangerous vision that must be stopped.”
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 66 percent of people (724 million) now suffer moderate to severe food insecurity, up from 51 percent in 2014, according to the State of Food Insecurity report recently released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. As food insecurity increases — intensified by the ongoing crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.