Call to revoke AGRA’s President Agnes Kalibata as Special Envoy to 2021 UN Food Systems Summit

176 Organizations from 83 countries opposed to appointment

176 organizations from 83 countries have written to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres rejecting the appointment of Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), as the UN Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata. (Kilimo News)

In the letter seen by Kilimo News, they accuse AGRA of serving the interests of its founders instead of championing the interests of farmers. “Founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, AGRA’s efforts have centered on capturing and diverting public resources to benefit large corporate interests. Their finance-intensive and high input agricultural model is not sustainable beyond constant subsidy, which is drawn from increasingly scarce public resources. Since 2006, AGRA has worked to open up Africa—seen as an untapped market for corporate monopolies controlling commercial seeds, genetically modified crops, fossil fuel-heavy synthetic fertilizers and polluting pesticides. This is an ill-conceived approach focused on monocultural commodity production by large agribusiness at the expense of sustainable livelihoods, human development, and poverty eradication,” says the letter. 

They also accuse AGRA of promoting policies that benefit the various actors in global value chains for the export of standardized commodities. “Vast power imbalances in these global chains means multinational grain traders, silo owners, transport companies, feed manufacturers, and financial institutions extract and retain the majority of value for themselves, while farmers remain trapped in cycles of poverty and debt,” the organizations allege. They are calling for “a rapid transition from corporate-dominated industrial agriculture to family farms working in harmony with nature and maintaining diverse ecosystems”. 

The organizations are also against the use of synthetic fertilizers which they say are responsible for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. “Nitrogen from these fertilizers is poorly absorbed by plants, and subsequently leaches into water systems and escapes into the atmosphere in the form of nitrous oxide. Long-distance transport adds carbon emissions. Family farmers, pastoralists, and Indigenous communities, who are the stewards of the land and guardians of agricultural biodiversity, are marginalized and forced off their land, replaced by pesticide-reliant monocultures,” they allege.

In place of this, they recommend the need for diversified and nutritious crops, produced in a truly sustainable manner, preserving and restoring the health and fertility of the soils, managing water efficiently, ensuring resilience to climatic shocks, and providing adequate food and income to family farmers. 

 They argue that since AGRA and Dr. Kalibata, sit on the board of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), they serve the interests of agroindustrial corporations and their shareholders, therefore, Dr. Kalibata can’t make independent decisions favorable to all stakeholders.  

 “Led by DR. Kalibata, the Summit will be nothing but a tool for further corporate predation on the people and natural systems. We, therefore, call on you to immediately revoke Dr. Kalibata’s appointment,” they tell the UN Secretary-General. 

The organizations below are the signatories to the letter.

ACT NOW!, Papua New Guinea

 Action Aid International, International

 Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), International

 African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), Cameroon

 Agroecology Research-Action Collective (ARC), International

 All India Kisan Sabha, India

 All India Union of Forest Working People, India

 Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), India

 Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV, INC), Philippines

 ATTAC Hungary Association, Hungary

 Autre Terre, Belgium

 Banana Link, UK

 Biowatch South Africa, South Africa

 CELCOR, Papua New Guinea

 Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, UK

 Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), Philippines

 Centre d’études et d’expérimentations économiques et sociales de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, International

 Centre International de Formation en Agroécologie Nyéléni, Mali

 Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM), Ecuador

 Centro Interdiscilinario de Investigación y Desarrollo Alternativo, U Yich Lu’um, Mexico

 Cercle pour la Défense de l’Environnement (CEDEN), Democratic Republic of Congo

 CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France

 Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch, USA

 Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (CNOP), Mali

 CNCD-11.11.11., Belgium

 Cultural Survival, International

 Eat for the Earth, USA

 Eco Custodian Advocates, Papua New Guinea

 Entraide et Fraternité, Belgium

 Environmental Monitoring Group, South Africa

 Eclosio, Belgium

 Ecological Solutions Foundation, Solomon Islands

 Ecumenical Academy (Ekumenická akademie), Czech Republic

 ETC Group, Global

 Europe Third World Center, Switzerland

 Fair Food Alliance Brisbane, Australia

 Farmworker Association of Florida, USA

 FOCO Foro Ciudadano de Participación, Argentina

 Food Connect Foundation, Australia

 Food Sovereignty Ghana, Ghana

 Forest Peoples Programme, UK

 Federation of Friends of the Earth International (76 national organizations)

 Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer, Argentina

 Global Aktion, Denmark

 Global Forest Coalition, International

 GRAIN, International

 Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS), India

 Green Development Advocates (GDA), Cameroon

 Green Scenery, Sierra Leone

 Groundswell International, Global

 Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria

 Human Rights Defenders Network, Sierra Leone

 Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India

 Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), USA

 Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, India

 Jubilee Austalia, Australia

 La Route du Sel et de l’Espoir, France

 La Via Campesina, Denmark

 Iles de Paix, Belgium

 Inyanda National Land Movement, South Africa

 Louvain Cooperation, Belgium

 Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Brazil

 Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI), Philippines

 National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Uganda

 Network Movement for Justice and Development, Sierra Leone

 Never Ending Food, Malawi

 Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, USA

 People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), International

 Plateforme Nationale des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs Agricoles du Bénin (PNOPPA), Benin

 PLANT (Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples), Brazil

 Popular Education & Action Centre (PEACE), India


 Rapad Maroc, Morocco

 Regional Center for International Development Cooperation(RCIDC) International, Uganda

 Rural Initiative on Participatory Agriculture Network (RIPAN), Kenya

 Rural Women’s Assembly Southern Africa, South Africa

 Sahara Bahuuddeshiay Sanstha Kinhi, India

 Sahayak Trust, India

 Send a Cow (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia)

 Social Watch, International

 Solidagro, Belgium

 Solidarité des Femmes Burundaises pour le Bien Être Social et le Progrès au Burundi, SFBSP, Burundi

 SOS Faim Belgique, Belgium

 Sierra Leone Adult Education Association (SLADEA), Sierra Leone

 Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), South Africa

 Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda

 Tamil Nadu organic farmers federation, India

 The Oakland Institute, USA

 The Trust for Community Outreach and Education, South Africa

 ToxicsWatch Alliance, India

 Undral Gombodorj, Democracy Education Center (DEMO), Mongolia

 United for the protection of Human Rights (UPHR-SL), Sierra Leone

 Washington Biotechnology Action Council, USA

 World Animal Net, International

 World Family, UK

 Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity, Zambia

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