Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















FARM NEWS
Agricultural policies in Africa could be harming the poorest
by Staff Writers
Norwich, UK (SPX) Feb 09, 2016


These are women farmers in Rwanda's hills. Image courtesy Neil Dawson/UEA. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa could be making things worse, according to research by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Published this month in the journal World Development, the study finds that so-called 'green revolution' policies in Rwanda - claimed by the government, international donors and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund to be successful for the economy and in alleviating poverty - may be having very negative impacts on the poorest.

One of the major strategies to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is through policies to increase and modernise agricultural production. Up to 90 per cent of people in some African countries are smallholder farmers reliant on agriculture, for whom agricultural innovation, such as using new seed varieties and cultivation techniques, holds potential benefit but also great risk.

In the 1960s and 70s policies supporting new seeds for marketable crops, sold at guaranteed prices, helped many farmers and transformed economies in Asian countries. These became known as "green revolutions". The new wave of green revolution policies in sub-Saharan Africa is supported by multinational companies and western donors, and is impacting the lives of tens, even hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers, according to the study's lead author Dr Neil Dawson.

The study reveals that only a relatively wealthy minority have been able to keep to enforced modernisation because the poorest farmers cannot afford the risk of taking out credit for the approved inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. Their fears of harvesting nothing from new crops and the potential for the government to seize and reallocate their land means many choose to sell up instead.

The findings tie in with recent debates about strategies to feed the world in the face of growing populations, for example the influence of wealthy donors such as the Gates Foundation, initiative's such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and multinational companies such as Monsanto in pushing agricultural modernisation in Africa. There have also been debates about small versus large farms being best to combat hunger in Africa, while struggles to maintain local control over land and food production, for example among the Oromo people in Ethiopia, have been highlighted.

Dr Dawson, a senior research associate in UEA's School of International Development, said: "Similar results are emerging from other experiments in Africa. Agricultural development certainly has the potential to help these people, but instead these policies appear to be exacerbating landlessness and inequality for poorer rural inhabitants.

"Many of these policies have been hailed as transformative development successes, yet that success is often claimed on the basis of weak evidence through inadequate impact assessments. And conditions facing African countries today are very different from those past successes in Asia some 40 years ago.

"Such policies may increase aggregate production of exportable crops, yet for many of the poorest smallholders they strip them of their main productive resource, land. This study details how these imposed changes disrupt subsistence practices, exacerbate poverty, impair local systems of trade and knowledge, and threaten land ownership. It is startling that the impacts of policies with such far-reaching impacts for such poor people are, in general, so inadequately assessed."

The research looked in-depth at Rwanda's agricultural policies and the changes impacting the wellbeing of rural inhabitants in eight villages in the country's mountainous west. Here chronic poverty is common and people depend on the food they are able to grow on their small plots.

Farmers traditionally cultivated up to 60 different types of crops, planting and harvesting in overlapping cycles to prevent shortages and hunger. However, due to high population density in Rwanda's hills, agricultural policies have been imposed which force farmers to modernise with new seed varieties and chemical fertilisers, to specialise in single crops and part with "archaic" agricultural practices.

Dr Dawson and his UEA co-authors Dr Adrian Martin and Prof Thomas Sikor recommend that not only should green revolution policies be subject to much broader and more rigorous impact assessments, but that mitigation for poverty-exacerbating impacts should be specifically incorporated into such policies. In Rwanda, that means encouraging land access for the poorest and supporting traditional practices during a gradual and voluntary modernisation.

'Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications of Imposed Innovation for the Wellbeing of Rural Smallholders', Neil Dawson, Adrian Martin and Thomas Sikor, is published in World Development.

.


Related Links
University of East Anglia
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FARM NEWS
How roots grow
Frankfurt, Germany (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
In contrast to animals, plants form new organs throughout their entire life, i.e. roots, branches, flowers and fruits. Researchers in Frankfurt wanted to know to what extent plants follow a pre-determined plan in the course of this process. In the renowned journal "Current Biology", they describe the growth of secondary roots of thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). They have observed it cel ... read more


FARM NEWS
JPL researchers report on new tool to provide even better Landsat images

NASA Radar Brings a New View of World Heritage Site

DigitalGlobe Receives Early Commitments for WorldView-4 Satellite Capacity

Russia to launch Resurs-P satellite on March 12

FARM NEWS
Chip enables navigation aids for the visually impaired

Lockheed Martin's GPS III completes thermal vacuum testing

China launches 21st Beidou navigation satellite

Galileo signals covering more of the sky

FARM NEWS
Cause for hope: Secondary tropical forests put on weight fast

Recovering tropical forests a sponge for CO2: study

Clemson scientist's research on tropical forests featured in the journal Nature

Study documents drought's impact on redwood forest ferns

FARM NEWS
Spain's Abengoa submits plan to avoid bankruptcy: source

UCR research advances oil production in yeast

Assessment aims to maximize greenhouse gas reductions from bioenergy

One-stop shop for biofuels

FARM NEWS
Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage

Obama seeks to double US funds for clean energy research

Morocco launches first solar power plant

Lockheed Martin taps more solar power

FARM NEWS
Offshore U.K. to host world's largest wind farm

Germany aims to build wind energy reputation

Mechanical trees generate power as they sway in the wind

Enormous blades could lead to more offshore energy in US

FARM NEWS
Central Appalachia flatter as result of mountaintop mining

Adani's mega coal mine clears Australia environmental hurdle

'Miracle' rescue of four China miners after 36 days underground

Coal formation linked to assembly of supercontinent Pangea

FARM NEWS
Three missing Hong Kong booksellers held in China: police

New year, new travel: more Chinese choose tourism over tradition

Lunar New Year turbulence as 'fire monkey' swings into action

China school sees monkey business in New Year




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.