Though the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $3 billion to fight hunger in poor countries, most of that money has gone to groups based in wealthy countries, a new report finds. Just 10% of the money has gone to African organizations, while more than 80% has headed to the US and Europe, according to findings by Grain, a Barcelona-based research group. "When we examined the foundation’s grants database, we were amazed that they seem to want to fight hunger in the south by giving money to organizations in the north," an agronomist tells the Guardian.
What's more, Grain says bluntly, "the Gates Foundation gives to scientists, not farmers." "Centralized labs" focused on "high-tech" food solutions get cash, while the "knowledge and biodiversity" of generations of farmers gets little attention. "Farmers are cast as recipients, mere consumers of knowledge and technology from others," says the agronomist. But a representative for the Gates Foundation defends its decisions, the Guardian notes. "We fundamentally believe that development should be led by developing countries themselves," says the spokesman. And "looking at the primary grantees in our database doesn’t provide a complete picture of where our funds end up and who they benefit." Those grantees often "sub-grant" money to African and South Asian groups.