By no means Drop Your Agriculture Technology Yet again

Two main U.S.-dependent foundations have declared a grand scheme to rejuvenate Africa’s agriculture. and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Basis will invest $150 million in direction of inexperienced revolutionizing Africa’s agriculture.

The software, according to a joint push launch from the two foundations, “intends to increase agricultural improvement in Africa by addressing both farming and pertinent economic concerns, such as soil fertility and irrigation, farmer administration practices, and farmer entry to markets and funding.”

There is no question that this initiative has arrive at an opportune time. Africa’s agriculture is near complete collapse and requires urgent reengineering. Africa has been sluggish in embracing cutting edge agricultural technologies such as biotechnology that have transformed the economies of several creating countries this sort of as India, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and China.

This initiative stands a good chance to change Africa’s agriculture. For this dream to be realized, nonetheless, every present day agricultural technologies must be explored. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation envisages “African plant experts establishing larger-yielding and drought resistant crops and African business owners starting seed companies to reach little-scale farmers…”

Developing higher yielding and drought resistant crops would continue to be a aspiration as lengthy as Africa carries on to look at new agricultural systems prescribed by the west as resources of domination. This has been, specifically, the case with agricultural biotechnology. Anti-biotechnology activists have made African farmers to think that agricultural biotechnology only serves the pursuits of multinational seed organizations. This is misleading.

As Africa gears up to receive the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations largesse, it have to, 1st of all, recognize that dismissing this sort of innovative agricultural systems as biotechnology by a hand wave will not provide its agricultural interests.

It really is instructive to mention that the African Union (AU) has a pivotal role to play in making sure that Africa gains highest advantages from novel agricultural technologies these kinds of as biotechnology.

Late last calendar year, the AU via the New Partnership for Africa’s Growth (NEPAD), commissioned a panel of African researchers and coverage makers to research how modern biotechnology could be integrated into Africa’s agricultural and wellness sectors. The panel, co-chaired by Prof. Calestous Juma of Harvard University, has presently drafted a report that, amongst other things, proposes the establishment of regional “Facilities of Excellence” for biotechnology research. The report will be submitted to African heads of state meeting in January 2007. AU must ratify this report to enable Africa increase its agriculture.