This opinion article was published in the Nairobi Star in Kenya, home to the headquarters of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It is based on my analysis of internal AGRA documents obtained by U.S. Right to Know through Freedom of Information Act requests.
When are African governments, donors, and African farmers going to demand some accountability from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)?
Fourteen years into this billion-dollar donor initiative to revolutionize African farming, and now past the 2020 endpoint for its goals of doubling yields and incomes for 30 million smallholder farmers, AGRA finally published internal country monitoring and evaluation reports from early last year.
I reviewed all 1,365 pages of those documents, unearthed in Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. Agency for International Development after AGRA refused to provide them. They show no progress toward AGRA’s top-line goals.
The absence of impact data in AGRA’s 11 recent country Outcome Monitoring reports, with no reference to results from its first ten years of Green Revolution promotion, suggests either that those results are so poor the organization does not want to reveal them or that it has never bothered to track progress toward its main goals. It is hard to know which is worse.
If AGRA is concealing evidence that its well-funded interventions, backed by massive African government subsidies for farmers to purchase commercial seeds and fertilizers, are failing to produce the intended results, it is defrauding donors, participating governments, and most of all farmers.
AGRA refused to provide data on its beneficiaries for our 2020 report, False Promises.