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African Green Revolution Forum

By Aksel Naerstad, International Co-coordinator of More and Better

The second African Green Revolution Forum was held in Tanzania on September 26-28th with about 1000 participants. Most of the participants were from private companies, institutions and governments. There were only a few representatives of farmers organizations, and some NGOs. More and Better took part despite that we disagree with the main messages from the organizers.

The largest fertilizer company in the world, the Norwegian based Yara, started these global conferences on African green revolution. The first three conferences were held in Oslo, Norway in 2006, 2007 and 2008. After that it shifted name from ‘Conference’ to ‘Forum’ and was moved to Africa. The first forum was in Ghana in 2010, and this year it was in Tanzania. Yara still has a huge influence in the conference. The CEO was one of the main speakers both at the opening and the closing of the conference, and 3-4 other top-level people from the company were speakers and chaired sessions. However, the messages from the key speakers are not any longer only “more fertilizer, more fertilizer and more fertilizer.” Now they talk much more about the value chain, the need to increase production through a diversity of methods, including more fertilizer, the need to strengthen local and national markets as well as export, the important role of small scale farmers, especially women, and  the importance of strengthening the farmers organizations. 

I took part in the African Green Revolution Forum because I think it is very important to know what the organizations and institutions behind the conference  are doing and promoting, and I think it is important to voice other opinions and views in the conference.  

More and Better is promoting food sovereignty and agroecology. That is a very different path than what African Green Revolution Forum is pointing out. I was not the only one in the conference promoting that, but we were definitely not the majority!

You will find more information on the webpage for African Green Revolution Forum here: http://www.agrforum.com/