text size: smaller reset larger

 

 

Focus on... A green revolution for Africa

New seed varieties, irrigation and fertiliser were the basis of the green revolution in Asia, transforming agricultural production and enabling countries such as India, to avert famine. High yielding varieties of rice, wheat and maize helped to secure a doubling in cereal production and provided food for a rapidly expanding population.

Forty years on, the world has undoubtedly benefited, but is also now perhaps reaping the consequences of that revolution. The rapid rise in food prices, particularly for grain, has left many poor people at risk from hunger, and for the first time since the 1970s, the world is consuming more than it produces. At the recent World Food Summit, the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, stated that food output needs to rise by 50 per cent by 2030. His call is echoed by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, now chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, who is demanding greater investment in agriculture across the continent.

Achieving an African green revolution will be harder and more complex than the green revolution in Asia and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Technology alone will also not provide the answers. In this edition of New Agriculturist, we review a selection of approaches with a potential for raising agricultural productivity in Africa.

Going against the grain: Malawi's fertiliser subsidy

Going against the grain: Malawi's fertiliser subsidy

Two years of good weather, combined with a government subsidy scheme on maize seed and fertiliser, have produced record harvests in Malawi. However, with the rising cost of fertiliser, does it still represent Malawi's best solution to food insecurity?

Date published: July 2008

Bahati Tweve: The honest 'middleman' brokering deals

Bahati Tweve: The honest 'middleman' brokering deals

The First Mile Project in rural Tanzania has promoted the use of 'spies', mobile phones and the internet to help farmers gain better access to markets.

Date published: July 2008

Reaping what you sow: developing a seed industry in Africa

Reaping what you sow: developing a seed industry in Africa

A programme that provides Business Development services to seed companies in East and Southern Africa is helping to transform Africa's growing seed industry.

Date published: July 2008

Found in translation: farm radio goes local

Found in translation: farm radio goes local

A pioneeering agricultural radio programme in Kenya has led to local radio stations broadcasting their own versions in vernacular languages, including Kikuyu, Kikamba and Kalenjin. Farmers now have regular and reliable sources of information on the key activities in the relevant regions, such as fruit farming, dairying, fishing or maize production.

Date published: July 2008

No till and raised beds boost yields

No till and raised beds boost yields

On Lesotho's highly eroded plateau, no-tillage conservation agriculture techniques are raising farm productivity. Last year, despite the worst drought in three decades, farmers were able to sell surplus grain to the World Food Programme.

Date published: July 2008

Gender revolution: a prerequisite for change

Gender revolution: a prerequisite for change

Women produce 80 per cent of the food in Africa yet own only one per cent of the land. According to Kofi Annan, "a green revolution in Africa will happen only if there is also a gender revolution".

Date published: July 2008

Sorghum beer: a sustaining brew

Sorghum beer: a sustaining brew

In Sierra Leone, a public-private partnership - which started as a social experiment - has resulted in a sustainable business buying sorghum from local farmers to use in brewing beer.

Date published: July 2008

 

 

Have your say

 

The New Agriculturist is a WRENmedia production.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
Accept
Read more