Is a green revolution in Africa possible?

If a green revolution was possible in Asia then why not in Africa? With these words Akin Adesina (AGRA) took the floor and challenged participants during the first panel of the Brussels briefing on “New drivers, new players in ACP rural development.

Mr. Adesina noted that conditions in Africa differ from Asia: crop variation is greater; climatic conditions are highly diverse; and only a small part of the land is irrigated. A green revolution for Africa needs to recognize this diversity and take environmental sustainability seriously, he stated.

While new technologies and crop varieties can help, they cannot alone offer a solution. Africa faces additional challenges to improve agricultural production: farmers’ access to new technologies is limited; markets are poorly developed, soils are drained of nutrients and fertilizer use is low. To address these challenges, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – AGRA – intervenes with a number of programmes, which Mr. Adesina presented, including improving seed systems, soil health and market access as well as policy advocacy.

On top of these, locally based and consistent policies are of central importance. Mr. Adesina argued that World Bank structural adjustment programmes of the 1980s were disastrous for African agriculture and he urged that it was time to end the “Washington Consensus” and adopt a real “African Consensus” for policy development. He reminded participants of African success stories past and present; arguing that if “maize revolutions” have been possible in countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, then productivity growth is possible. He concluded that all actors, public and private, need to ensure that institutions, infrastructures, markets, and technology are working together for a green revolution in Africa.

See more from the 2 July Briefing

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