DSA2018: Global inequalities
- Lidia Cabral (Institute of Development Studies) email
- Divya Sharma (University of Sussex) email
- Tom Lavers (University of Manchester) email
This panel will consider attempts to promote a ‘new’ Green Revolution in Africa, focusing on: the transfer of transnational policy ideas—including South-South transfers; the adoption and adaptation of these ideas in particular national political economies; and their distributional impacts.
Over the past 15 years international organisations, philanthropists, private companies and national governments have sought to build momentum for a 'new' Green Revolution (GR) in Africa. Rising global powers, like India and Brazil, that experienced earlier GRs, have emerged as sources of technology and know-how to help deliver the envisaged African GR. This panel will explore the dissemination and adaptation of policy ideas regarding GR technology—from these rising powers and elsewhere, the potential of new GRs to either replicate the unequal GRs of the past or, alternatively, to learn from and avoid them; and the political drivers that shape these processes.
Questions of interest include:
• How influential are transnational ideas about 'New Green Revolutions' in national policymaking processes? To what extent and in what ways do these draw on the experiences of the earlier GR countries like Brazil and India?
• What are the channels for transmitting these ideas and how are they adapted to domestic political economies?
• What particular types of agricultural technology are exported into Africa? And what combinations of interests, ideas and institutions shape elite commitment to agricultural transformation and the choice of particular technologies?
• What impact do new technologies have on differentiation and social relations along class, ethnic and gender lines? What are the implications for rural politics, representation and authority?
• How can transformative agricultural technologies from across the Global South be mobilised into the African context and inform national policymaking and local farming practices?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
The Second Green Revolution in Africa: Reflections on the USAID supported Feed the Future Program through Kansas State University Innovation Labs
This paper looks at the issues emerging from USAID supported research in crops intensification and post harvest loss programs in Ethiopia, Burkino Faso, Senegal, Tanzania, and Ghana. The key issues are around gender analysis and the targeting of women farmers; sustainability and local ownership.
Since the second green revolution from the mid 2000s the main focus was to address the sectors the first Green Revolution was not successful in. These have been (among others) in semi-arid crop systems, small scale producers, and a focus on dryland African production systems. Emerging issues are the inclusion of women farmers in technological research as they increasingly the users of technology in marginal local agriculture sectors with high rates of men's migration. Second, is the issue of the sustainability of new technologies and practices that avoids elite capture that bedevilled the first Green Revolution. Finally, is the issue of local design, ownership, and control of these technologies in the context of competing ideologies as to what economic development more broadly, and agricultural development in particular, should look like. On the one hand is Western neo-liberalism and on the other hand China's state led infrastructure development for rapid industrial growth. Where do poor marginal farms sit in these scenarios?
This paper emerges from the research the author is undertaking with the Feed the Future labs at Kansas State University as part of a Fulbright fellowship in early 2018. This work focuses on gender integration in these technology based research projects but also how to take the lessons learnt from the 'first' Green Revolution projects see if these lessons have been learnt or if 'Green Revolution' approaches are inherently problematic.
Opportunities and challenges of 'farmer-led' irrigation development in sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper examines the phenomenon of 'farmer-led' irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa. It uses a survey of 2700 farmers in Tanzania and Mozambique to compare irrigating and non-irrigating households and to identify opportunities and challenges arising from this widespread development.
A renewal of interest in African agricultural productivity since the millennium has been accentuated by the 2007-8 increase in prices in international food commodity markets, and subsequent moves by corporate and sovereign financial agencies to invest in African agricultural land African governments' ambitious new policies for irrigation investment. This has re-opened debates about how best to develop irrigation in Africa, prompting a re- evaluation of both the 'potential' for irrigation development and the reasons why past investment was often perceived as unproductive. At the same time, a growing number of empirical studies have documented an expansion of agricultural water management in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, often by small-scale producers using a variety of technologies, and often in circumstances where legal and regulatory frameworks have not been developed in detail to address such patterns of water use. This paper reports findings of a survey of irrigating and non-irrigating households in areas where such 'farmer-led' irrigation development is taking place. It argues that, while irrigation appears to be benefitting those who can use it, the widespread and dynamic process presents challenges to prevailing irrigation policy.
Epic narratives on the Green Revolution in today’s South-South cooperation
This presentation will introduce a new research project on the domestic histories of the Green Revolution in Brazil, China and India and how narratives about an epic past have been constructed, contested and are now traveling across the global South as part of South-South cooperation. The theoretical foundations and methodological approach for the research will be overviewed and the role of the ‘epic narrative’ in legitimising a particular kind of agricultural trajectory will be discussed.
After decades of neglect of African agriculture, the beginning of the 21st century was marked by growing attention to this sector, including by new players from Brazil, China and India, who offered technical cooperation, investment and trade deals under the framework of South-South cooperation (SSC). These countries claim to have much to offer to African countries struggling with the challenges of hunger, food insecurity and low yields. After all, they had themselves successfully addressed these challenges back home through public investment in science and technology (S&T) that delivered unprecedented results in production and productivity, particularly in the 1960-80s. This moment in these countries’ histories became known as the Green Revolution (GR). Despite remarkable achievements, criticism to the GR is well established, particularly regarding the unequal distribution of benefits and negative environmental impacts. Yet, its celebration has gained impetus in recent years. In Africa, there have been calls for an African GR. In response, SSC providers have revived their GR histories and narratives of past heroic transformations. These narratives stress the technological dimension of the agricultural transformation and modernisation and the role of scientists who, through innovation, dedication and hard-work, contributed to addressing the calamity of hunger. These ‘epic narratives’ are being used today to emphasise the role that S&T from countries like Brazil, China and India can play today in African agriculture. But how consensual and unequivocal are these narratives and how are they shaping trajectories of agricultural change in Africa?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.