The AgroEcology fund (AEF) was established in 2012 as a multi-donor fund to invest in “agroecological practices and policies” and lobby African governments to prevent the introduction of GMO crops in their countries. (Note that AEF is not an independent 501c3, but a coalition of donors, and not formally incorporated as an independent organization. It serves as the coordinating pass-thru for donations which come directly from its member foundation. As of the end of 2019, it was noted as having been formed and operating under the Arabella Advisors New Venture Fund as a project.) AEF’s four founding donors include the Christensen Fund, New Field Foundation, the Swift Foundation and one anonymous foundation, all of which fiance anti-GMO advocacy, especially in the developing world. In the six years since its founding, the AgroEcology Fund “has awarded $4.03 million to …. 202 organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the USA.” Donations made through AEF are managed by the New Venture Fund, yet another wealthy foundation that finances opposition to crop biotechnology.
AEF maintains close ties to prominent anti-GMO groups through its advisory board members. Sarojeni Rengam is the executive director of Pesticide Action Network’s Asia branch, and Edie Mukiibi serves as vice president of Slow Food International, an NGO that believes GMOs could turn “our food into a patented commodity controlled by a few multinationals.” AgroEcology fund takes a similar position, arguing that “banning genetically modified (GM) seeds …. illustrates a “commitment to food sovereignty.” AEF further believes “corporate GMO seeds” rob smallholder farmers of the right “to retain control over their seeds.”
In 2017, AEF and the Alliance for Food Safety Africa (AFSA), which has received $200,000 from AEF, collaborated unsuccessfully with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) to prevent the enforcement of biotech seed patents, because such “seed policies and plant variety protection laws …. have negative implications for smallholder farmers.” The collaboration is ongoing, however, and active in six African countries, including Tanzania, South-Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. CFS has also received $50,000 from AEF.
Annual Budget: $1,200,000 (2018)
Major Recipients (total contributions 2012-present)
La Via Campesina $695,000
Grassroots International $300,000
Groundswell International $200,000
Alliance for Food Sovereignty Africa (AFSA) $320,000
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) $210,000
Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty $255,000
The United National Federation of Agricultural Unions of Colombia $100,000
Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network $95,000
Sibol Ng Agham at Teknolohiya $95,000
Save PNG $75,000