DFID and agribusiness in Africa: a toxic mix

6 December 2012 - 4:30pm
News

New research from War on Want reveals that the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) has been using the aid budget to promote the interests of multinational food companies in Africa – with potentially devastating effects on small-scale farmers and rural communities.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money are being channelled towards projects with the express purpose of extending the power of agribusiness over the production of food in sub-Saharan Africa.

While this will boost the profits of corporate giants such as Monsanto, Unilever and Syngenta, it threatens to disempower small farmers and rural communities and condemn them to long-term poverty. DFID's promotion of genetically modified crops will also lock small farmers into dependency on corporate providers of seeds and chemical inputs, undermining any chance of defeating hunger.

Our report also lifts the lid on DFID's support for a complex network of companies and investment funds registered in one of Africa's foremost tax havens.

Not only is the UK aid budget being used to support some of the world's largest multinational corporations, but several of the companies and agricultural investment funds being supported by DFID are incorporated in the secrecy jurisdiction of Mauritius. This means that UK aid to agribusiness is being routed through a known ‘conduit haven', allowing companies to avoid paying taxes that could be used by national governments to support small farmers and genuine agricultural development.

Please send the following tweet to DFID: Hey @DFID_UK why are you spending #UKaid to help multinationals take over African farming? Via @WarOnWant http://waronwant.org/hungergames

War on Want has focused on challenging the root causes of the global food crisis, as well as supporting positive solutions that are socially equitable as well as environmentally sustainable.

This includes our longstanding partnerships with farmers' movements across the world to promote the framework of food sovereignty as a positive alternative to a capitalist food system that has condemned hundreds of millions to despair. As described in our report Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming the global food system, this framework offers a positive solution to the food crisis based on principles of local empowerment, equity and agroecology.

The continuing scandal of global hunger is a testament to the failure of the globalised food system. There is a growing consensus that this failure is the result of deliberate political choices that favour corporate interests while condemning hundreds of millions to despair.

DFID's support for that system by promoting the interests of multinational companies seeking to expand their control over agriculture in Africa is an abuse of the aid budget, and must be stopped.

Putting farmers in control

There is alternative to our global food system of free markets supplemented by aid

Latest news

MPs call for suspension of arms sales to Israel

23 May 2018 - 11:30am

A group of MPs have called for a suspension of arms sales to Israel in an Early Day Motion tabled on 23 May 2018.

MPs have expressed dismay over the UK Government’s response to Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza, with particular questions on the legality of UK arms sales to Israel.

Read more

Reaction: UK abstention from UN Gaza vote makes a mockery of commitment to international law

19 May 2018 - 9:00am

Trusting that Israel can fairly and neutrally investigate its own war crimes is an insult to any common sense definition of justice, and makes a mockery of the UK’s stated commitment to international law, human rights, and accountability

Read more

Join the conversation

Good that managed to hold off Israel's threat to deport him, but the fight is far from over, for him &… https://t.co/5D04ZjVEBA 2 hours 31 min ago
Israel’s deadly attacks in Gaza are only the latest example of its militarised repression of Palestinians. Now MPs… https://t.co/b8CD7dfzRa 3 hours 44 min ago
We pressured at their AGM today, asking whether it will release its supply chain information, in the s… https://t.co/8ARsZhStTX 4 hours 44 min ago