CAFOD senior activists deliver birthday message to World Bank

A group of five committed 80-year-olds, representing thousands of CAFOD supporters, delivered an 80th birthday card to the World Bank offices in London. The message? A gentle prod that the Bank can do better.

The intrepid pensioners – John Fox, Jean Fox, Keyna Godward, John Devine, and Elizabeth Devine – are part of a CAFOD campaign supporter group. Their mission is to urge the World Bank to cease restrictions on small-scale farmers’ seed choices.

A recent report published by CAFOD has revealed that the World Bank is failing in its duty to tackle poverty by promoting a model of agricultural development that benefits large-scale agribusiness at the expense of some of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers.


CAFOD’s analysis of the World Bank’s policy and funding instruments shows that it has focused almost exclusively on supporting farmers to buy hybrid seeds and fertilisers and has ignored the role of farmer seed systems in enabling small-scale farmers to tackle poverty and enhance food security.

“Our research also shows that the World Bank uses flawed metrics to measure the impact of its promotion of an industrialised agriculture model,” said a CAFOD spokesperson.

“Success has been measured by the Bank in terms of greater participation of the private sector in providing access to hybrid seeds and fertilisers, as opposed to measuring impacts based on poverty reduction or increased food security for poor farmers. As a result, large-scale agribusiness companies have been the main beneficiaries of the Bank’s involvement, profiting from increased sales and further concentrating their market share and control of agricultural systems.”

This exceptional birthday event at the World Bank’s London offices not only served to highlight the passion of these senior citizens, but it also underscores an important global issue that impacts food production and security.

Photo: (l to r) Jean Fox, John Fox, Elizabeth Devine, John Devine and Keyna Godward

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The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and part of Caritas International.

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