We are very excited to announce the 9th Annual Strengthening Local Economies Everywhere (SLEE) dinner! Read More
NOW is the time to concretely connect our local, national and global struggles for food sovereignty! CAGJ came out of the 1999 WTO uprising. Today we must take action to guarantee another victory over corporate control of our global economy.
Today, April 17, is La Via Campesina International Day of Peasant Struggle & today and tomorrow are National Days of Action to Stop Fast-Track! Fast-Track was introduced in both houses of Congress yesterday. Fast Track would allow the TPP and other trade agreements to skirt ordinary Congressional review, amendment and debate procedures — a rubber-stamping of “NAFTA on Steroids” pacts that destroy local food systems, jobs and drive down wages, among other dangerous environmental, public health and economic impacts. We’ve stopped Fast Track legislation before and we can do so again!
Learn more: Read and share the letter to Congress: “Fast Track is the Wrong Track for U.S. Food & Farms” signed by CAGJ and over 110 other organizations!
HOW CAN YOU MOBILIZE IN SEATTLE?
1. If you haven’t yet this week, please email Congress now.
2. Join us SAT April 18, 10AM for the “Stop Fast Track Canvass” in Seattle!
No experience necessary! We will be pressuring Representative Smith to vote NO on Fast-Track! LOCATION: Meet at El Centro de la Raza, Rm 105, 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA. Contacts: Dianne Gross, 206-295-1127 OR Gillian Locascio.
Click here for a list of Canvassing Actions all over WA state!
3. Call your Senator and Representative today: call any time, day or night. It’s SO IMPORTANT that they hear from you now! Sample message: “I’m calling to urge my representative to vote no on Fast-Track”. Find your representatives here.
WA Senator Murray: Toll Free: (866) 481-9186
WA Senator Cantwell: (202) 224-3441
Rep McDermott: (202) 225-3106
La Via Campesina International Day of Peasant Struggle honors those who have died fighting for a fair food system. Their message to us today: Today thousands of women and men farmers of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina mobilize worldwide against Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which affect peasant and small-scale agriculture and national food sovereignty. Since April 17, 1996 La Via Campesina celebrates this day as a global day of action with allies and friends. Free Trade Agreements promote TNCs and a capitalist industrialised mode of production heavily reliant on agrochemicals. These have increased the displacement, expulsion, and disappearance of peasants. Free Trade Agreements put profit over all other rights and concerns. Currently, the most significant FTAs in history are being negotiated by the European Union, the United States, and Canada. These agreements, if finalised, will liberalize trade and investment markets in favour of transnational companies (see tv.viacampesina.org/April-17th).
Membership Month is when we ask our community to step up and support CAGJ by pledging money or time. Please consider becoming a monthly sustainer or providing a one-time contribution of $15, $35, or $75. Almost all of CAGJ’s revenue comes from individual donations.
One of the things CAGJ does best is to bring the community together to challenge the corporate control of our food system. CAGJ is a scrappy organization with a big reach. Just this month we had two successful actions bringing attention to two very important issues:
Corporate Takeover of Africa’s Food: On March 23, 2015 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development sponsored a secret meeting in London to promote a recent report they commissioned detailing in clear terms how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa- without African stakeholders having a seat at the table. CAGJ/AGRA Watch and Global Justice Now coordinated simultaneous actions in Seattle and London. KiroTV covered the event here: Demonstrators picket Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information see here.
NO GMO Salmon: On March 7th, 2015 people gathered in front of the Seattle Costco to deliver over 50,000 petitions from around the country asking Costco to commit to not selling Genetically Engineered (GE) salmon even if approved by the FDA. We were excited to get excellent TV coverage with a spot on KiroTV a few days before the action! For more information see here.
Our food system will not survive this global takeover without us intervening. Become a member of CAGJ today and let’s set this trajectory on a different path!
This month we will also be highlighting the accomplishments of supporters such as yourself. Please tell us what you love about CAGJ, and you may have your response featured on social media or our newsletter.
On March 23, 2015 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored a secret meeting in London to promote a recent report they commissioned detailing in clear terms how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa- without African stakeholders having a seat at the table. CAGJ/AGRA Watch and Global Justice Now coordinated simultaneous actions in Seattle and London.
CAGJ Press Release; March 23 Gates Foundation Plots Ways of Profiting from Africa’s Seed Systems: Simultaneous Demonstrations in London and Seattle
CAGJ Press Advisory; March 20 Simultaneous Demonstrations in Seattle and London Oppose Gates Foundation’s Secret Meeting about Seed Privatization in Africa
African Centre for Biosafety Press Release; March 9 White men meet in London to plot ways of profiting off Africa’s seed systems
Coverage of Seattle protest
KIRO TV (video) Demonstrators picket Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
KOMO Radio covered action all day, can’t find link.
Humanosphere Blog Activists protest Gates Foundation plan for African farmers
Coverage of London protest
Inter Press Service Gates Foundation Slammed for Plan to Privatise African Seed Markets
Coverage of both protests
Common Dreams (Featured) Gates Foundation’s Seed Agenda in Africa ‘Another Form of Colonialism,’ Warns Protesters
CounterPunch Rich Men in London Still Deciding Africa’s Future
Coverage of Issue
The Ecologist (authored by African Centre for Biosafety) Grabbing Africa’s seeds: USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover
Global Justice Now Blog The fight for seed freedom
Open Democracy Secretive and seedy: how aid donors are opening the agribusiness flood gates
Twitter Action: #freetheseeds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2015
Gates Foundation Plots Ways of Profiting from Africa’s Seed Systems
Simultaneous Demonstrations in London and Seattle
SEATTLE, WA — Today, Monday, March 23, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are sponsoring a secret meeting in London to promote a recent report detailing in clear terms how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa– without African stakeholders having a seat at the table.
The meeting is being criticized for including corporations, development bodies, trade bodies and aid donors, yet excluding any African farmers or representatives of affected organizations. Today protesters on both sides of the Atlantic are picketing to protest the corporate capture of seed, and to urge the foundation to support African food sovereignty. Both in London and Seattle protesters will distribute open-pollinated seeds as a symbol of the alternative to the corporate model promoted by USAID and BMGF. (The Seattle protest will take place 8:30 – 10:00am.)
The London meeting will discuss a study produced by Monitor-Deloitte which was commissioned by the Gates Foundation and USAID. BMGF is a major sponsor of the commercialization of agriculture in Africa including through its subsidiary the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Working with USAID, this commercial agenda extends US foreign policy into Africa on behalf of corporate interests, threatening the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers who rely on recycling seed for their livelihoods.
Phil Bereano, food sovereignty campaigner with AGRA Watch and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington said, “This is an extension of what the Gates Foundation has been doing for several years – working with the US government and agribusiness giants like Monsanto to corporatize Africa’s genetic riches for the benefit of outsiders. Don’t Bill and Melinda realize that such colonialism is no longer in fashion? It’s time to support African farmers’ self-determination.”
The goal of the Monitor-Deloitte study is to develop models for commercialization of seed production in Africa, especially “early generation seed”, and to identify ways in which the African governmental sectors could facilitate private involvement in African seed systems. The study was conducted in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia on maize, rice, sorghum, cowpea, common beans, cassava and sweet potato.
The report exposes a typical approach of private sector “cherry picking”, where private companies identify any profitable public activities for their own involvement. While complaining incessantly about “heavy state involvement” they still insist on such involvement for unprofitable activities and permitting the private sector to take the profitable activities.
The Monitor-Deloitte report uses cowpea production in Ghana as an example of where the public sector should carry the extremely expensive improved cowpea breeder seed costs to allow the private sector to profit in seed multiplication and distribution. Breeder seed is prohibitively costly because of low multiplication rates and low demand. But the demand that exists is nonetheless lucrative, so the private sector wants to be involved only in the parts of the production process identified as profitable. Where the whole chain is profitable, such as hybrid maize or in closed value chains where there is strong but limited demand and early production processes are also potentially profitable, for example hybrid sorghum for brewing, Deloitte proposes the public sector be locked out of the production process.
Although historically, in Africa and around the world, farmers have been the traditional developers and distributors of improved seeds, the report does not even consider a potential role for farmers in the production or distribution of seed. Indeed farmers are viewed only as passive consumers of seed produced elsewhere.
The meeting in London and the focus of the report expose the agendas of the BMGF and USAID to enable private interests to profit from essential life processes in African agriculture.
Mariam Mayet Director of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) in South Africa said: “ACB insists that an equitable and sustainable solution to seed production and distribution can only come from direct engagement with farmers and their organizations to ensure their active involvement in these activities. We further insist that public-farmer partnerships to improve seed that integrates farmer and scientific knowledge will generate a more accountable process, and produce longer-lasting and more meaningful solutions for African agricultural production, than these profit-driven, exclusive and narrow processes.”
Download accompanying PDF documents.
EGS Study Draft Summary 1,4Mb
AGRA Watch is a grassroots, Seattle-based program of Community Alliance for Global Justice, challenging the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ questionable agricultural programs in Africa, including its Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).