FAS Spring Lecture: Old Fertilizer in New Bottles: Selling the past as innovation in Africa’s Green Revolution
Please join us for the spring Food, Agriculture & Society Lecture. Monday, April 11, 12-1pm in Carnegie Hall Rm 107. Masks required. A light lunch will be served.
OldFertilizer in New Bottles: Selling the past as innovation in Africa’s Green Revolution
by Timothy Wise
A growing number of farmers, scientists, and development experts now advocate a shift from high-input, chemical-intensive agriculture to low-input ecological farming. They are supported by an impressive array of new research documenting both the risks of continuing to follow our current practices and the potential benefits of a transition to more sustainable farming informed by collaborations between farmers and scientists. The new initiatives have been met with a chorus of derision from an unsurprising group of commentators, many associated with agribusiness interests. They argue that only Green Revolution seeds and fertilizers can provide the innovation needed to help regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa grow more food. This narrative, however, flips reality on its head. Ecological innovations are on the cutting edge of new farming practices, while the Green Revolution is selling an outdated 50-year-old model as innovation despite its proven failures.
Timothy A. Wise is a Senior Advisor at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and a Senior Research Fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute. He is the author of Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers and the Battle for the Future of Food (New Press 2019).