The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

La Via Campesina marching

The UK government claims the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will lift 50 million people in Africa out of poverty by 2022. But the scheme will benefit multinational companies at the expense of small-scale farmers and is likely to increase poverty and inequality in Africa.

Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition provides aid money from rich countries like the US and the UK, and helps big business invest in the African agricultural sector. But in return, African countries are required to change their land, seed and trade rules in favour of big business. The New Alliance will:

  • Make it easier for big corporations to grab land in Africa.
  • Prevent farmers from breeding, saving and exchanging seeds.
  • Heavily promote chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which increase farmers’ risk of debt as well as damaging the environment and farmers' health.
  • Replace family farms with low paid, insecure jobs.
  • Prevent countries from restricting crop exports, even at times of domestic shortage

Much of the aid money and investment promised as part of the New Alliance prioritises crops for export, including tobacco, palm oil and biofuel crops, rather than supporting small farmers to grow crops sustainably for local consumption.

Ten African countries have signed up to the New Alliance: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Benin, Malawi, Nigeria and Senegal. Around 50 multinational companies including Monsanto, Cargill and Unilever, and around 100 African companies, are also involved.

A few years on and evidence is mounting against the New Alliance.

A recent report from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact condemned the New Alliance as “little more than a means of promotion for the companies involved and a chance to increase their influence in policy debates”.