Agrarian reforms and the African green revolution

Agrarian reforms and the African green revolution

OLUWATOYIN DARE KOLAWOLE, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
 
Purpose – Agricultural intensification is central to the Green Revolution (GR) programme. This initiative, which dates back to the early 1940s, revolves around the development of high yielding and disease-resistant seed varieties that aim at bringing about efficient food production and security. The paper thus presents a brief genesis and thrust of the GR. Focusing on Nigeria as a typical African case, the discourse addresses the political economy of Nigerian agriculture; outlines the features of the Nigerian GR; and highlights some crucial issues debated during the 2008 Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) conference for a uniquely African GR as a pro-poor development strategy.
Methodology – Using a critical discourse analysis and case study design, the paper analyses the political and bureaucratic lapses associated with the introduction and implementation of the reform.
Findings – Although wary of some of the socio-political and environmental issues surrounding the production of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and high external inputs (HEIs) in the push for a new African GR, the paper reports the proceedings of the Salzburg conference as a likely platform for the formulation of new pro-poor policies in the context of the African GR. If sincerely and properly implemented, the article argues that an African-oriented GR framework is conceived as a possible policy window to address the challenges of the continent’s poor majority.
Social implications – The policy issues raised in the paper would serve as a pool of information from which policy conceptualisation, formulation and implementation could be derived for the good of the African agrarian economies and poor majority.
Originality/value – Highlighted issues on the debates on a “uniquely” African GR during the SGS conference provide original insights to the implementation of agrarian reforms in Africa. The paper is valuable to policy makers and other stakeholders in re-shaping the agricultural sector in the continent.
Keywords Green Revolution, Agrarian reforms, Food security, Political economy, Policy, GMOs, Environment, Nigeria
Paper type General review

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