Gates, Rockefeller Intend to Re-create Green Revolution for Africa
UPDATE: Peter Timmer of the Center for Global Development is skeptical about the program.
The Africa program will begin with a relatively small Gates contribution of $100 million over five years, plus $50 million from Rockefeller, to fund development of more robust disease- and drought-resistant seeds for primary African foodstuffs, enhanced distribution networks for seed and fertilizer, and university-level training for African crop scientists.
Upon seeing this, my first reaction was to ask what the private sector’s role will be. After some digging, I discovered that the new project intends to develop a network of African agro-dealers:
Another challenge particular to Africa is the lack of a robust market for bringing new products to farmers. PASS hopes to address this by providing training, capital and credit to establish at least 10,000 small agro-dealers [village retailers who sell seeds, fertilizer and farm tools] who can serve as conduits of seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and knowledge to smallholder farmers, and in doing so help increase their productivity and incomes. This will be a $37 million investment.