A New Green Revolution for Africa.

Photo by zedamnabil | flickr.com

It’s been decades since something known as the Green Revolution swept through many developed nations. The Green Revolution involved agricultural technologies and methods such as pesticides, irrigation methods, higher crop varieties and hybridized crops becoming more widely spread with the intention of increasing food production globally.

Despite the fact that these have happened numerously over the past several decades, it appears that Africa has missed the boat on all of them. However, that does not mean a Green Revolution is not possible for Africa. It does mean the path to “greening” Africa may take a different route than the Green Revolutions that have come before it.

This alternative route is one that looks to small-scale farmers in rural parts of Africa as beacons of hope for sustainable food security on what many call the most impoverished continents in the world. However, Africa is currently in a state where food security cannot be achieved independently - it must be a collaborative effort between donor countries, recipient countries and the numerous NGOs/international institutions that fit into this large mish-mash that comprises the agricultural sector for emerging and developing economies.

But what does farming in Africa have to do with us back here in Canada? To answer that, we look to the Canadian International Development Agency (or CIDA) who cited global food security as a top priority. This coupled with the fact that increased food security also produces greater political stability and growth potential within Africa indicates the opportunity held within agriculture.

It is this opportunity that is currently driving a group within Africa known as the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to strive towards reducing food insecurity within 20 African countries by at least 50 per cent. Although this is quite the feat, AGRA is not alone.

Currently the alliance is largest recipient of agricultural grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and also receives funds from groups such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Howard Buffett Foundation.

With support for AGRA’s mission of a green revolution and heightened food security in Africa, it makes me wonder- will CIDA consider supporting AGRA? Or will they continue to watch from the sidelines?