The Green Revolution and Africa
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Reports of chronic food shortages, malnutrition and famines in many Developing Countries are frequent. Food production is very low, in fact so low that these countries have come to be referred as international basket cases - implying that they are recipients of massive international food aid. The problem therefore is how to provide enough food to the starving and underfed millions of humanity inhabiting poor countries. Food aid is inadequate and cannot be relied upon indefinitely as it contains numerous political strings which reduce the dignity and self-reliance of the recipient country. Food productivity has to increase within the Developing Countries themselves. For a time, the Green Revolution which started in the countries of South East Asia was believed by many to be the long awaited messiah of poor countries especially in view of its 'miracle’ seeds which in some areas boosted productivity by at least a hundred fold. Disillusionment with the Green Revolution has largely come about because of its failure to boost productivity of the majority of the poorest rural farmers and its tendency to increase the affluence of the already affluent. Why has this been so? Are there any lessons for Africa and if there are, how do they affect the chances of an African Green Revolution?