19 October 2009

Solving Africa's Food Problem

The first "green revolution" called for by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2004 has been producing good result.
Countries, such as Malawi, have transformed their food production using relatively simple means: With the help of government subsidies, farmers can now obtain two bags of fertilizer and five kilograms of hybrid maize seed at just 25 percent of the actual price. And, whereas the World Bank and other donors have refrained from such agricultural subsidies over the past few decades due to concerns about corruption, they are now supporting them and refocusing on agriculture as a priority. "It's a 180-degree turn for the better," Sanchez says. "You can avoid corruption by keeping it on a small scale."

Bill Gate is now charging for a second green revolution

"The charge is clear—we have to develop crops that can grow in a drought; that can survive in a flood; that can resist pests and disease," Gates added. "We need higher yields on the same land in harsher weather." The answer, at least in part? Sustainability paired with genetic modification.

Gates also called for a more environmentally focused effort this time around. "The next Green Revolution has to be greener than the first," Gates said. It "must be guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment. The last thing anyone should do is create short-term gains for poor farmers that have long-term costs for their children.

Basing on fossil fuel based fertiliser will make these farmers continuously is not sustainable in the long run as we know that fossil fuel is a limited natural resource which is not renewable. A better solution would be to adapt/adopt a permacultural path. Here is a video showing how permaculture is applied to green the desert in the middle east. [source]

Cross posted to Sustaining future

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