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Agro-Ecology Financiers: Promoting Poverty, Malnutrition, and Death (Part 1)

By -- April 7, 2020

Private ‘philanthropic’ foundations join government agencies in funding anti-technology NGOs. Underwriting anti-life causes not only misses an opportunity to promote good living, it requires true philanthropies to expend resources to counteract the bad actors.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, anti-development banks, the Agency for International Development (USAID), NGOs (non-government organizations), and other eco-imperialists use their money, power, and control over trade and lending to keep millions of families from having access to reliable, affordable energy; disease-preventing pesticides and spatial insect repellents; and modern agricultural technologies. They perpetuate Third World poverty, disease, and death.

These anti-human actions are excused and even praised for safeguarding scenic areas, habitats, and wildlife from fossil fuel-driven climate change, even as they are destroyed by wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel plantations, and expanded mining for the metals and minerals that those technologies require.

Too many government agencies have been captured by neo-colonialist, climate-obsessed elements in their leadership and ranks, and among the politicians who set their budgets and programs. The NGOs enjoy tax-exempt status and global prestige, because the human and environmental costs of their policies rarely receive more than superficial scrutiny by media, human rights or other “watchdogs.”

Fact is, few NGOs would even exist without the wealthy foundations that finance them. Indeed, “philanthropic” foundation support for radical environmentalist groups and campaigns is one of the best kept secrets of modern society. It’s time to spotlight some of them and call them to account.

Wealthy foundations – often created with profits and fortunes made in industry and technology – directly and indirectly support some of the most radical anti-energy, anti-technology, and agro-ecology activism in America, Europe, and the world. Their wealth, direct and indirect aid mechanisms, and inter-locking global network of funders, managers, and advisors make them a force to be reckoned with.

They use direct donations and a growing number of clever non-transparent passthrough operations (funds of funds, or foundations of foundations) to consolidate money from multiple donors and direct “charitable giving” to organizations and projects that support their ideologies and causes. The system also helps insulate the foundations – and their patrons and managers – from direct association with the most questionable, controversial, and even thuggish organizations and activists.

Their funding, in turn, enables the organizations and activists to paint themselves as legitimate, benevolent, and popular voices worthy of attention in global and domestic debates over laws, policies, and regulations.

These foundations have become especially effective in blocking the use of modern, innovative farm technologies like improved pesticides, GM crops (genetically modified or engineered through biotechnology) – and even fertilizers, tractors and hybrid seeds – under the auspices of what they cleverly call “agro-ecology.” 

World Bank, EU agencies, and Euro foundations drive primitive subsistence farming

The World Bank’s Global Environment Facility and various European donors support groups like the Route to Food Initiative, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, and Resources Oriented Development Initiatives of Kenya. Of course, it’s not just Kenya. Virtually every African country is beset by their “benevolence,” as are India and other countries in Asia and Latin America.

All of them promote the supposed benefits of organic farming that bans the use of “dangerous, poisonous” manmade pesticides – but permits the use in “organic” farming of “natural” pesticides and other chemicals that are also toxic and dangerous to humans, wildlife, fish and beneficial insects. They stridently oppose all biotech crops – including life-saving Golden Rice – and have been pressuring Kenyan and other African governments to ban more than 200 pesticides that have been approved as safe in many other countries. Many of them are even opposed to mechanized equipment like tractors.

Among the EU funders are BioVision, the Danish Agency for International Development Cooperation; the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

US Culprits Too

U.S.-based foundation support may be far more significant than EU funding, though the secretive networks make that hard to ascertain. Foundation support for the agro-ecology Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa helps illustrate how all this works.

AFSA is a pan-African alliance of organizations committed to “resisting” so-called corporate industrialization of African agriculture. It claims the use of modern agricultural technologies like pesticides for crop protection, genetically modified (biotech, bioengineered) crops for drought and insect resistance and higher yields will result in “massive land grabs, destruction of indigenous biodiversity and ecosystems, displacement of indigenous peoples… and the destruction of their livelihoods and cultures.”

AFSA’s core members include NGOs and activist pressure groups that espouse a variety of anti-capitalist, anti-technology, radical environmentalist goals and philosophies.

Among the more notable or notorious ones are The African Biodiversity Network, African Center for Biodiversity, GroundSwell International, Friends of the Earth (FOE), and La Via Campensina Africa. These organizations work together to plan and support pro-organic, anti-biotech campaigns, and provide financial management and expertise in furthering AFSA principles, which specifically include opposition to biotech crops in Africa.

Core member La Via Campensina Africa (The Peasant Way – Africa), for example, is a radical, proponent of anti-technology agro-ecology. It rejects modern farming technologies: crop protection pesticides and even biotech replacements for bananas, cassava and other crops that have been all but destroyed by viruses and diseases. It also advocates an anti-free market program of peasant-centric subsistence agriculture that largely limits farmers to backbreaking organic agricultural farming methods and selling to local markets.

Agro-ecology farmers are largely limited to local markets, in part because they cannot raise enough crops for export to wider markets like Europe – while other farmers are kept out because many EU governments ban the import of crops that are so much as tainted by pollen from biotech crops.

The US-based AgroEcology Fund (AEF) helped to launch and continues to support the AFSA. It acts as a pass-through fund of funds to hide sources, and helps to coordinate, direct and manage giving to organizations like AFSA.

AEF also partners with AFSA and other organizations such as the Center for Food Safety (CFS), to battle “the industrial model” and promote organic. The AgroEcology Fund directly gave the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa in 2015 $200,000 (and possibly more via more clandestine means) and has given it some $500,000 overall. That may not sound like much, but such funds pay for 10-100 times more hourly wages in Africa than they would in USA. In 2017, the AEF and AFSA worked together on a campaign to prevent biotech seed patent protections laws from being enforced in Africa.

The AEF was created by three wealthy American foundations: the Christensen Fund, the New Fields Foundation, the Swift Foundation and a fourth anonymous donor. AEF programs and funding are overseen by New Venture Fund, which was created to help “philanthropists” better direct funds to projects and programs in line with their neo-colonialist goals; the NVF is managed by Arabella Advisors.

Ironically and perversely, the foundations that funded AEF’s creation are rooted in money generated in innovation, industry and technology. Now AEF and its foundation backers battle agricultural innovation and keep African farmers mired in farming practices that can feed few people, and can successfully battle few crop-devouring insect pests, much less protect crops against recurrent locust plagues.


Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues. Part 2 of this article tomorrow will address how these funds lock Africa in poverty and malnutrition.


  1. John W. Garrett  

    I strongly dislike these people. Half of ’em are clueless idiots. The other half are cynical opportunists preying on guilt-ridden dilettantes.

    Mencken’s Law:
    When “A” injures or annoys “B” on the pretense of saving “C” then “A” is a scoundrel.


  2. Agro-Ecology Financiers: Promoting Poverty, Malnutrition, and Death (Part 2)  - Master Resource  

    […] Private ‘philanthropic’ foundations join government agencies in funding anti-technology NGOs. Underwriting anti-life causes not only misses an opportunity to promote good living, it requires true philanthropies to expend resources to counteract the bad actors. (Part I was yesterday) […]


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