Friday, 2 May 2008

SALZBURG DAY 2: RAINBOW REVOLUTIONS AND SILVER BULLETS

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member

See photos from Salzburg

The conference may be titled Toward a Green Revolution in Africa, but the colour of the revolution began to change hue on the second day in Salzburg. A strong message was emerging in both roundtable discussions and plenary sessions – that moving in one direction, with one vision and one goal was the key to the future of agriculture in Africa. However this idea comes with a caveat: that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Photo: Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO FANRPAN / Julia Day

The approach required to achieve effective change needs to move away from the single silver bullet method of a magic Green Revolution solution that can fit every African context.

What is needed instead, several delegates suggested, was a ‘rainbow revolution’ with a ‘green ethic’. This multi-hued approach needs to go beyond a production focus to issues of environment, biodiversity, equity and rights. And new initiatives need to have effective prior resilience audits of their potential impacts. We don’t have to make the mistakes of the past Asian Green Revolution, one delegate succinctly put it, because we have the benefits of hindsight.

Under the ‘rainbow revolution’, Africa’s biodiversity would be maintained. The risk of narrowing Africa’s genetic options should be kept in mind and building in multiple options to preserve and increase diversity and flexibility was called for. Only if you have diversity, will the continent be able to cope with shocks in the future.

By the way, Scott Edward Anderson is also blogging from Salzburg, check out his blog, the Green Skeptic

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