Glad you stopped by – there are a lot of links in this one but hey, its supposed to be chilly and rainy this weekend so you’ve got nothing better to do. There have been a number of pieces floating around lately on the coming (or is it here already, hard to say) green revolution in Africa. To say this is a complex issue would be an understatement – we’re not going to go into all of the pros, cons and minutiae of the green revolution here so be sure and check that out for yourself (suffice it to say that the relief and development world is no more free from Newton’s third law than the rest of the universe). However, with President Bush heading off to visit a few countries in Africa this weekend it will probably be in the news some more so we thought we would point you in the direction of a few pieces to see for yourself what all the hubbub is about. You can get a quick audio overview with this piece from yesterday’s Marketplace broadcast on NPR. There is also this good piece from The Wilson Quarterly. Now, for a decidedly pro-viewpoint you can peruse the aptly named African Green Revolution website and for the counter argument check out this piece from the Grain website. Lastly, I’ll point you towards a favorite blog of mine by economist Chris Blattman and a post he did a while back focusing on the same topic but pushing aid and development workers to think not just subsistence, not just food in the belly, but long term development as well, food in the cupboard if you will.
Remember, the question here isn’t whether or not its a good thing for hungry people to have access to more food, nobody is against that. But how do we get to that point, what sacrifices (if any) do we make along the way, who gets to make those decisions and finally, a question all development agencies ask themselves (or should at least) – how can we do the most “good” while doing the least “harm.”
Ok, I just saw the forecast for tomorrow and there is a 90% chance of rain, so here is one more article that I was reminded of when typing that last sentence which is a good illustration of the dilemma. You know that picture is intriguing you . . . .