Field Guides to Food

William Moseley on China's Green Revolution and African Agricultural Development

The worst thing about a model is that it works only on paper. In the field, any and every project will encounter problems. Depending on the scientist's ability to accurately read their situation and adjust to changed circumstances, the project will be generally successful or generally disastrous.


The strange thing about the Green Revolution, as William Moseley details here, is that many people act as if the model of the Green Revolution is also the Green Revolution in reality. Rather than acknowledge the mistakes made in the past, many proponents of a modern Green Revolution insist that their model will work in Africa. There is a whiff of colonial delusion about the whole thing: our agriculture is more intelligent than your agriculture, and it can make your land a paradise.
This viewpoint is obviously problematic, and in today's increasingly globalized world, its significance cannot be downplayed.

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