EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


AGRA-Gates Lobbying for Monopolies on Life

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 1:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Post cross-validated by G. Forbes

Monsanto - bones logo

Summary: Articles from the past two months about Bill Gates’ boosting of patents on seeds and now animals too

IN THE COMING days we are going to write about the latest publications that Bill Gates practically or virtually ‘bought’. On issues close to Gates’ heart (or wallet), they will boost his point or view (or, to put it differently, they will advance his agenda). Before we get to that, here are some recent stories that we missed and feel ought to be shared at least as a part of a prerequisite.

“Website funded by the Gates Foundation praises simplistic solutions funded by the Gates Foundation,” argues Gates Keepers (regarding
this Gates-paid advert disguised as a blog post):

[This] website funded by the Gates Foundation extolls the virtues of ‘health solutions’, most of which are also funded by the Gates Foundation. There is no disclaimer.

Gates Keepers don’t blame the intern for choosing them as that may be how she is going to earn her living for the next half century. But do we trust an intern to tell us what WE want to see more of?

Here is one way of putting it:

But some scientists, having experienced the way Gates can give, then take away, are wary of pinning their research programs to the interests of one very rich man.

These people are organising events to lobby the British government, as Oxfam blogs (see this for context about Oxfam and Monsanto) shyly admit in “An evening with Bill and Melinda Gates and the decade of vaccines: is this the future of aid?”:

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, was in the audience, and the Gateses dropped in on David Cameron to drive home their message. As they stressed business thinking, ‘return on investment’ and the need to increase impact assessment, backed by a blizzard of stats, it became clear just how influential the Gates Foundation has become in terms of the aid discourse both here and in the US.

Petitions protesting what the Gates Foundation is doing with AGRA, which is a sort of front group to promote particular corporate interests (there are many just like it which get disguised similarly). One site is trying to build the pressure on the Gates Foundation:

The Gates Foundation is increasingly being forced to deal with criticism of its more dubious activities and programmes. With Via Campesina, the AGRA Watch campaign group (AGRA = The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, an initiative of the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its the biggest grantee) based, like the Gates Foundation, in Seattle, has initiated both a letter for sign on and an electronic petition to the Gates Foundation. Please sign on, and also circulate to other groups and individuals.

Also see this “Sign-on letter to the Gates Foundation sponsored by AGRA Watch/Community Alliance for Global Justice & La Via Campesina North America” (from Seattle Global Justice). There is the article “Dysfunctional philanthropy: Gates and AGRA“:

English began by first providing evidence showing that there is no reason to believe AGRA is an African led organization as stated by the Gates Foundation. He followed this by illustrating the funding patterns of Gates/AGRA, making strong connections to Monsanto both within the Foundation itself and among their grantees. The tie with Monsanto was also illustrated by presenting the recent purchase of its stock by the Foundation; other ways in which Gates is promoting corporate incursions into Africa include TechnoServe’s fruit project with Coca-, and the African Harvest “Golden Sorghum” work. He also discussed highlights from a conference in Uganda in which presenters urged African governments to harmonize and fast track biosafety legislation that provides industry with the least amount of barriers, and in the words of Gates funded Africa Harvest, “less truth and more emotion” as the keys to getting farmers and consumers to adopt GM foods.

Also: “Activists challenge Gates Foundation’s agricultural development strategy

Seattle-based AGRA Watch, an activist organization that believes the Gates Foundation’s approach to agricultural reform in Africa is environmentally, economically and ethically unsound, today released a protest letter signed by more than 100 organizations, food experts and scientists opposed to the strategy.

The letter was released to coincide with street protests in Cancun held by groups angry with the nature of the climate talks going on there this week. (Note: KPLU’s Liam Moriarty is there, and reports here.)

And for a change, the booster of the Gates Foundation gives room to critics, echoing that message we find under the headline “eattle-led coalition tells Gates Foundation to change approach” (also in Accra Daily Mail and elsewhere)

A coalition of groups led by Seattle-based activists has sent a letter and online petition to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, saying its current approach to agriculture in Africa is unlikely to solve problems of hunger, poverty and climate change, and may make them worse.

The letter, signed by 100 organizations and individuals from 30 countries, was released to coincide with protests at the UN climate talks in Cancun.

Led by the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ), the coalition said the foundation and its private sector partners are pushing industrialized agriculture and genetically engineered crops at the expense of small farmers and the environment.

“Gates-funded AGRA Flogged” is how Gates Keepers summarised it:

You would have to look hard to find two more optimistic people to flog Gates-funded AGRA than the ever-sanguine Sachs and the failed bureaucrat Annan.


If food production in Africa increases, it is unlikely to be due to AGRA.

Monsanto’s interest in monopolising seeds was also discussed in “Monsanto, Monsanto, Monsanto. And China.

Many people I know are ambivalent about Monsanto. When the Gates Foundation invested in the Monsanto, for example, The UK Guardian couldn’t but ask why…

One has to remember that this article was written after The Guardian had been paid by Gates. It was a poor article as we noted at the time.

The likes of Monsanto and Gates are owning life by modifying genes, in animals too: “Oxitec has received $5 million from the Gates program, but the Grand Cayman trial is not part of that.”

Is Gates trying to privatise life now, at least by assisting those who do plot to do so for profit?

Regarding GMO, there is a lot more that we found recently and have not had time to share. Take for example:

i. The Gates Foundation’s Delusional Techno-Messianism

Of course, given the power and influence the Gates Foundation now wields not just in Washington but also globally, this will not come anytime soon. (The man with the gold makes the rules, and all that.) In all likelihood, the next Green Revolution—if it succeeds it will almost certainly be along the lines of the largely Gates-funded Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa—will have to be revealed as no more of a silver bullet than its predecessor of half-a-century ago for any serious reconsideration to begin. In the meantime, though, raising the public’s expectations of what aid can accomplish is almost certainly going to backfire when, inevitably, those expectations fail to materialize. If our policymakers cannot bring themselves to devise policy like adults, perhaps they could see their way clear to treating the public like adults and speak accordingly.

ii. Gates Foundation Urged to Back Away From Pushing GE Crops, Industrialized Agriculture for Africa

A coalition of 100 groups has written to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, urging the foundation to refocus its activities in Africa away from genetically engineered crops and industrial agriculture.

The groups signing the letter included environmentalists, academics and groups opposed to genetic engineering of food crops. They said they are concerned the foundation’s grants are “heavily distorted in favor of supporting inappropriate high-tech agricultural activities, ignoring scientific studies that confirm the value of small-scale agro-ecological approaches.”

iii. World Food Prize winner: IT revolution won’t be model for agriculture in Africa

During a lively Q&A session, he sparred with a representative from Seattle-based AGRAWatch, which opposes the use of GMO crops and the Gates Foundation’s close ties with GMO promoters and agribusinesses like Monsanto.

But agribusinesses possess the type of expertise that can help build Africa’s agricultural sector, Ejeta said. Few of them currently operate on the continent, because profit margins are too slim.

“I would like to see them there,” he said – but in a non-exploitative way.

Ejeta helped develop AGRA, the Gates-funded push for a Green Revolution in Africa. Among the goals are introducing more productive crop varieties through both conventional breeding and genetic modification, and improving distribution of fertilizers and pesticides.

It remains to be seen whether the program will be effective, said Ejeta, who criticized the preference for funneling money through NGOs rather than giving it directly to African governments.

“They don’t blink an eye at putting resources in the hands of beltway bandits, consulting companies masquerading as NGOs.”

Loud applause greeted a questioner who wondered why AGRA doesn’t instead promote organic agriculture.

As with Gates, Ejeta didn’t hesitate to disappoint his audience.

iv. Bill Gates Foundation / Bill Gates helps the city of Harare to refurbish its infrastructure (Mugabe’s town gets money from the Gates Foundation, usually it involves ‘agriculture’ too)

v. An African Green Revolution: Can the Continent Become Agriculturally Self-Sufficient?

Historically, Africa was bypassed by the green revolutions that happened in countries like India and Mexico, due to a lack of good seeds and water management, and no government support. “The World Bank said ‘no subsidies, no state support’…so the seeds were never adopted, the fertilizer was unaffordable, there was no uptake of modern varieties…without using fertilizer, as [Professor] Pedro Sanchez showed in his research, the soil nutrients were utterly depleted, and that became one of the main findings for the need to do something different,” said Professor Sachs. In India and Mexico, only one kind of crop was grown—it was a monoculture—but Africa has a wide variety of foods: cassava, yams, sorghum, and millet, to name some. “We need to produce all these varieties in quantities to feed our populations,” said Mr. Annan.

vi. Ending Africa’s Hunger Means Listening to Farmers

Their answers appear to directly repudiate a massive international effort to launch an African Green Revolution funded in large part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Following the food crisis in 2008 there is a major push for a “new green revolution” in Africa, championed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) a $400 million effort headed by Kofi Annan, former secretary- general of the United Nations and funded by the Gates Foundation and the Rockrfeller Foundation. AGRA aims to double or quadruple the yields of smallholder farms.

“We’re are choosing to invest in what we believe will work,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a member of the AGRA board and president of the Global Development Program, which is one of three focus areas for the Gates Foundation.


AGRA, many scientists and large NGOs believe the business approach of high-technology and public-private partnerships is the way to feed Africa, they can’t accept the smallholders’ worldview, he said. What will happen instead is that smallholders will buy the new hybrid seed, fertiliser and pesticide on credit, eventually be forced off their land to repay their debts and end up in the cities, while large corporate style farms will consolidate smallholder land.

“This is what happened to many of India’s smallholders,” Pimbert said.

For more of our writings about AGRA see (in order of relevance) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

One reader, Tony Whitcomb, sent this pointer to his blog, which also mentions Monsanto. People become better aware of the Gates Foundation’s deeds and consequences.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  2. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  3. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  4. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  5. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  6. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  7. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  8. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  9. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  10. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  11. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  12. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  13. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  14. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  15. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  16. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  17. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  18. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  19. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  20. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  21. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  22. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  23. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  24. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  25. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  26. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  27. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  28. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  29. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  30. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts