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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The technological transformation of African agriculture - is there hope?
Author:Idachaba, F.S.
Periodical:Discovery and Innovation
Notes:biblio. refs.; invited address given at the 22nd Annual Research Conference of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi, Kenya, 30 April 1992
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:farm management
agricultural technology
Agriculture, Agronomy, Forestry
agricultural productivity
Agricultural engineering
technological change
Abstract:This paper examines the prospects for technological transformation as a source of future agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa. A technological transformation must have a scientific transformation as a foundation. However, agricultural research as a foundation for technology in national agricultural research systems (NARSs) suffers from many constraints and weaknesses, including a failure to understand indigenous science and technology in traditional agriculture; the fact that technologies are not sufficiently adapted to local agroecological conditions; the fact that agricultural research has tended to be supply rather than demand driven; inadequate and unstable funding of NARSs; research staff instability; ineffective institutional arrangements for managing agricultural research; poor research-extension linkages; and the political impotence of rural Africa. The following outstanding issues in the technological transformation of African agriculture are subsequently discussed: the impact of structural adjustment programmes on agricultural technology generation and dissemination; the import intensity of technological transformation of African agriculture and the question of farm input subsidies; the role of irrigation; unintended consequences of technological transformation of agriculture; the role of the private sector; sustainable agriculture; and women in agriculture. In conclusion, attention is paid to some success stories: maize in Zimbabwe and Kenya; new technologies in export crop production; and biological control of the cassava mealybug. Bibliogr.