Gates Foundation Ups its AGRA Support

The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations established the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2006. The partnership was formed largely in response to former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s global appeal for a green agricultural revolution unique to Africa in an increased effort to help solve food insecurity.

The problem at the time was that even though green agricultural revolutions were already underway in other parts of the world—including Asia and Latin America—sustainable practices, which tripled food productivity in those regions, had not translated so well to Africa.

Since establishing AGRA, the Gates Foundation has awarded it over $410 million. Some of the largest grants to date include:

  • $148 million in support of increasing access to locally appropriate fertilizes, soil fertility management, and the improvement of fertilizer and soil extension policies
  • $96 million for improved production and distribution strategies
  • $56 million to increase access and availability to higher yielding seed varieties

The foundation recently awarded AGRA a $1.5 million grant, bringing its total support up to $411.8 million. This latest grant will go toward the support of strengthening the member numbers of farmer organizations in sub-Saharan Africa.

One of AGRAs stated goals is to help smallholder farmers increase their income and economic security by working with various farmer organizations across the 17 countries in which AGRA has a presence. To accomplish this task, AGRA established the Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA), which provides income enhancing methods to its members, engages farmers' organizations to better address members’ needs, and helps build a knowledge base to allow farmer organizations to inform policy decisions, among other activities. These farmer organizations also allow for members to sell their produce collectively, thereby improving their overall bargaining power.

AGRA has supported over 400 projects across Africa since it was established in 2006. Gates Foundation grants to AGRA were awarded through its Agricultural Development and Global Policy and Advocacy grantmaking programs.