Africa’s ever-distant green revolution

At a seminar at Cornell University in 2002, a graduate student from Ethiopia approached Borlaug and asked how he and the other engineers of the green revolution in Asia, where preexisting infrastructure had helped bring increased yields to consumers, intended to handle the situation in Africa, where booming production was depressing local prices. “He just looked at me,” she recalled, “and he said, ‘Well, we just didn’t have to worry about the market in Asia. All we had to worry about was the science.'”

Two generations of Carlisle Runges writing in Foreign Affairs on getting the science and economics right for Africa’s Green Revolution.

One interesting factoid on local agricultural science:

the improvements brought by investments in research come with a lag: they peak after about 25 years, and their effects persist for as long as 25 years more. Hence, the consequences of decisions taken in the 1970s and 1980s to limit the growth in funding for agricultural research have only recently become apparent.

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