The new harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project

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Calestous Juma was Project Director and Lead Author of this Harvard Kennedy School based study. Prof. Juma has generously made the 2011 book available for download at the Belfer Center. This is a wonderful example of open research. Buy the book if you can. If not please do read the download. This is the best single book I know of to learn the framework for sound policy for the future. You can see the quality of the work that has gone into this by just scanning the International Advisory Panel and Contributing Authors which includes many of the best, e.g., Robert Paarlberg.

This is more of the good work funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  

African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at  which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent’s economic improvement.

Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest outlines the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. Incorporating research from academia, government, civil society, and private industry, the book suggests multiple ways that individual African countries can work together at the regional level to develop local knowledge and resources, harness technological innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, increase agricultural output, create markets, and improve infrastructure.

I’ve included this book in my category “What are you optimistic about?” because it is such a good example of science-based policy research that will make a huge difference for the continent of Africa. Will the entrenched NGOs, the EU elites, Friends of the Earth et al let change happen?

Juma, Calestous. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press, January 2011.

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