EU parliament expected to take stance opposing GMOs in Africa and New Alliance aid scheme

Friday, 3 June, 2016

On Monday a vote in the European Parliament is expected to accept a highly critical report made by the EU Development Committee on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – an aid initiative that has received £600 million from DFID.

The report, which was commissioned earlier in the year, highlights numerous concerns about the scheme, including:

 

  • the introduction and spread of certified seeds in Africa increases smallholder dependence, makes indebtedness more probable, and erodes seed diversity.
  • the need for EU Member States to invest in agro-ecological farming practices in developing countries.
  • the need for independent grievance mechanisms for those communities affected by land dispossession.
  • the lack of consultation with civil society groups from Africa before the launch of the scheme.
  • the flawed assumption that corporate investment in agriculture automatically improves food security and nutrition and reduces poverty.

The report also “urges the G8 member states not to support GMO crops in Africa” and “calls on governments and donors to suspend or review all policies, projects and consultancy arrangements that directly encourage and facilitate land grabbing”.

The EU has put  USD $1.1bn  into the New Alliance.  Earlier in 2015, an independent audit of the UK’s aid partnerships with corporate partners singled out the New Alliance as being particularly ineffective. The report suggested that the £600 million that the UK had poured into the scheme was effectively subsidising the PR campaigns of the large food and agricultural companies involved.

Aisha Dodwell, the food sovereignty campaigner from Global Justice Now said:

“In the last four years the New Alliance has done very little to alleviate hunger or address food security, and an awful lot to facilitate land grabs,  displace small farmers and impose big agribusiness companies on countries and communities across Africa.

“This report from the EU Development Committee is one of the most thorough and well documented reviews of the scheme to date and the conclusions show that it is failing very badly. The report could and should go further however, in calling for the EU to end all funding for this disastrous programme.

“Aid money should be used to support the many agricultural initiatives across countries in Africa that are promoting increased yields, sustainable practices and community resilience, instead of subsidising projects that enable big agribusiness companies to swoop in and seize control.”

Launched in 2012, the New Alliance brings together corporate investment with aid money from G7 countries and the European Union, aiming to lift 50 million people out of poverty in 10 African countries. In exchange for aid investment, African countries undergo a number of policy reforms to ensure a more business friendly environment to benefit the investors, among them is Monsanto, Coca-Cola and Nestle.

It is based on the assumption that corporate investment in agriculture will increase production and automatically improve food security and reduce poverty. But the initiative has been widely criticised by civil society organisations across the world. Not only has it failed to address poverty or hunger, but the scheme has facilitated the grabbing of land and natural resources, undermined small-scale farmers and their right to adequate food and nutrition, and accelerated seed privatisation.
 
Read Global Justice Now’s briefing – Growing evidence against the New Alliance
Print quality photos of ‘UK Aid carving up Africa’ can be found here
 

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