By Ashley Fent, Phil Bereano, and Katie Talbot
Community Alliance for Global Justice
AGRA Watch formed in 2008 to challenge the Gates Foundation’s participation in the problematic Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and to support sustainable, agro-ecological alternatives already practiced in Africa. We have witnessed an acceleration in the push for genetic engineering as a “solution” to hunger in Africa, a criminalization of GE’s opponents as eco-imperialists unwilling to accept scientific advancements, and a deification of philanthropic support for corporate solutions to global food issues. The Lugar-Carey bill is a case study in the interlocking interests of big business, big philanthropy, US foreign policy and US aid. Furthermore, several new developments in Kenyan legislation and in the international political economy threaten to use the global food crisis as an opening to solidify genetic engineering as a necessary part of food security strategies.
In 2009, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act (S. 384), which seeks to reform aid programs to focus on long-term agricultural development and the restructuring of aid agencies for better crisis response.[i] As part of this new reorganization, Lugar-Casey mandates funding for genetic engineering (GE) research.[ii] The bill is supported by CARE, Oxfam, Bread for the World, ONE, and US land grant colleges.[iii] In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Lugar argued that worldwide food security is critical to US national security, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan where he says hunger has fueled conflict and extremism. [iv] Lugar believes that agricultural development in these “troubled” regions will ensure more peaceful conditions. He states specifically that he is “excited by [the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s] vision” and their “beneficence.”[v] Bill Gates and Bill Clinton expressed their support for the highly controversial, pro-GE Lugar-Casey bill before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[vi]
Read the full paper at Community Alliance for Global Justice