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Exposing the “Green Revolution” in West Africa

November 2014

Farmers have worked the rugged land in Western Africa for generations, moving seasonally from field to forest for food and livelihood. While life was never easy, the community worked together, in harmony with their surroundings, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.

All that changed when the government planted a virtual For Lease sign on the land. China and other buyers grabbed it up, quickly draining the land of nutrients with vast fields of monocrops for export.

This is the plight of many farmers across the Global South. Massive land grabs combined with the influx of genetically modified seeds under the banner of the Green Revolution come with empty promises of increased agricultural productivity and the end of hunger.

But the truth is much more sinister than its cheerful moniker implies: this so-called Green Revolution   is responsible for poisoning precious farmland with toxic chemicals while profiting agro-industrial giants at the expense of the families and communities who depend on and care for the land.

Luckily, threatened small farmers have somewhere to turn. Many are joining a growing movement of peasant farmers who are part of We Are the Solution, a network of women-led family farmer organizations in five countries of West Africa, working to promote agroecology and food sovereignty as an alternative to the corporate takeover of agriculture in the region.

Collaborating with 12 women-led family farmer organizations in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Senegal, We are the Solution is building a movement to strengthen womens political learning and development. Member groups recognize that chronic problems of hunger and landlessness will continue to exist unless we replace the Green Revolution and industrial agriculture with agroecology, a framework that values local farmers knowledge and contribution to feed themselves and surrounding communities. Through the combination of local knowledge and interdisciplinary technical expertise, agroecology builds a food system that is socially just, environment friendly and economic viable.

Grassroots International has supported We Are the Solution for four years, and they are just one of our partners in this years launch of the Fund for Resource Rights in West Africa. Together, Grassroots and our Fund partners advance real solutions based on agroecology, a practice grounded in human dignity, sustainable methods, and community empowerment.

The Fund to Advance Resource Rights in West Africa supports grassroots organizations and social movements in West Africa that advance food sovereignty, climate justice, and the human rights to land and water as solutions to hunger, poverty, and ecological disruption. It prioritizes support for social movements and community-based efforts that are led by women, small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples, and youth as those most impacted by these forms of injustice, and therefore the best experts in creating lasting solutions

The women- led farmer groups who are part of We are the Solution recognize that chronic problems of hunger and landlessness will continue to exist unless we stop the Green Revolution. Through your continued support of Grassroots International, we can build a global food system that is socially just, environmentally friendly, and economically viable.


Photo courtesy of Fahamu: Networks for Social Justice

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