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Theme Two

The role of appropriate science and technology that meets the need of the small-scale farmers was identified as a crucial component for an equitable and sustainable Green Revolution for Africa. Making science and technology work for the poor calls for a multiplicity of approaches to establish links to diversity and complexity, across a range of different environments and systems throughout the continent. This requires an urgent push for major investments and key inputs now – such as improved seeds, organic and inorganic fertilisers, and soil and water management – to address nutrient deficiencies and boost productivity.

Contributions to this theme should revolve around concrete actions to address the following questions:

  • Which of the recommendations and specific actions from the Conference Report should be pursued to ensure that appropriate technologies are developed to assist small-scale farmers and establish inclusive processes that engage farmers throughout?
  • What policy measures and incentives are needed to influence the governance of both public and private sector R&D systems to make them more responsive to the needs and priorities of small-scale farmers?

Ralph von Kaufmann

I agree with the following statement “To empower smallholder farmers to participate in an African Green Revolution, improvements should be made in both: functioning and performance of agricultural input markets so that viable smallholders can access inputs at cost effective prices; and empowering vulnerable smallholders with purchasing power so that they can participate in the market process”. Balu Bumb, Program Leader, Policy, Trade, and Markets Program at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)

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Patti Kristjanson

Science and Technology will only work for small-scale farmers if agricultural research is carried out differently than much of it has been in the past. Lessons from research that has successfully linked knowledge with action – changes in policies, practices, institutions and technologies – contributing to sustainable poverty reduction suggest the following principles are key:

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Michael Mortimore,

It appears presumptuous to try to add to the value of the comprehensive discussions at the Salzburg Global Seminar, and the wide-ranging report of its deliberations and recommendations (‘Towards an African Green Revolution’).
 
In looking for an African paradigm the Seminar did not resolve the fundamental question of relating demand with supply factors in driving ‘agriculture-led growth’. This issue seems to me to be also unresolved in debates about the Asian Green Revolution. In India, was it in essence a technological revolution, solving supply constraints, as popularly represented, or a transformation of the economic system led by growth in demand? Rapid population growth and massive urbanization (including successful industrialization via an Indian, labour-intensive model) were essential components. Can we imagine an Indian green revolution without these?

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Toyin Kolawole

The current discussion on 'Making science and technology work for small-scale farmers' is closely linked with the earlier debate on the appropriateness of farmers' voices in the African Green Revolution [AGR] initiative. Essentially, the thinking of agricultural scientists and technologists will be more effectively put to use if they align with those of the smallholder farmer. As I had earlier indicated, there is the need to revisit and strengthen Research-Extension-Farmer linkage if the dream of realising a sustainable AGR is to be achieved. There are a lot of lessons to learn [either way] in the process of a 2-way information sharing within the linkage system.

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