Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Approaches with a potential for raising agricultural productivity in Africa

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 the 2008/4 edition of the New Agriculturist, (July 2008) a selection of approaches with a potential for raising agricultural productivity in Africa are reviewed.

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

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 market

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.

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.

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.

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".

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