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An Exploration of a Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Keijiro Otsuka


    (Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development, Tokyo)

  • Kaliappa P. Kalirajan

While population still continues to grow rapidly in Sub-Sahara Africa, the expansion of cultivation area has slowed down considerably due to the increasing scarcity of uncultivated land. Since the yield of food grain per unit of land has remained largely unchanged in this region, food production per capita has declined and if the current trend continues, food shortages are likely to arise in near future. Food production per capita also tended to decline in tropical Asia in the 1950s and early 1960s. The pessimistic prospect for future food-population balance in Asia then was not too different from the current situation in Sub-Sahara Africa, even though social infrastructures, including irrigation facilities and roads, were better developed in the former than in the latter. Subsequently, rice and wheat yields in Asia began to grow dramatically due to the development and adoption of fertilizer-responsive, high-yielding modern rice and wheat varieties, which is heralded as the Green Revolution. Owing to sustained improvements of grain yields in subsequent decades, the grain production in tropical Asia more than doubled and the per capita food production significantly increased over the last few decades. This Asia-Africa comparison raises an important question: Whether it is possible to transfer the Green Revolution (GR) that lifted Asia out of massive food shortages to Africa? Answer to this question is vital because recently, the executive director of the World Food Program, James Morris, made a statement to the UN Security Council on April 8, 2003 that 40 million Africans, most of them women and children, were in danger of starvation.

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Article provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in its journal The Electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-6

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Handle: RePEc:fao:tejade:v:2:y:2005:i:1:p:1-6
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  1. N/A, 1985. "Asia," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, , vol. 41(1), pages 80-87, January.
  2. Jonna P. ESTUDILLO & Keijiro OTSUKA, 2006. "Lessons From Three Decades Of Green Revolution In The Philippines," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 44(2), pages 123-148.
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