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Biological pesticides for Africa: why has so little of the research undertaken to date resulted in new products to help Africa's poor?

By David Grzywacz, Andrew Cherry and Roma Gwynn

Abstract

There is a crisis over rising food prices and increasing food shortages in Africa that has once again focused world attention on the problems of agricultural production in Africa. Over much of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) food production still fails to meet the basic needs of many millions of people. Why is it at the beginning of the 21st century that in so much of SSA food production has remained stubbornly low? Since the 1960s, food production in Africa has risen modestly, but almost entirely through increasing the area under cultivation (Evensin & Collin 2003), with average yields per hectare for most major crops remaining around 500-700 kg per hectare (Anon 2004). This is in marked contrast to the situation in Asia and South America where the adoption of new technology, the “Green Revolution”, has boosted average yields per hectare to two or three times that level and has helped lift many countries such as India, once chronically prone to famine, out of food insecurity. This issue, the causes of low agricultural productivity in Africa, is at the heart of a major development question: why is there still food insecurity for much of SSA? And it begs the further question of why agricultural research has had so little impact in erasing the spectre of food shortages across SSA

Topics: S1
Publisher: Research Information Ltd.
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1564/20apr09
OAI identifier: oai:gala.gre.ac.uk:3348
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