Friday, 2 May 2008

SALZBURG DAY 3: BEYOND STAPLE CROPS

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member

The emphasis of the Green Revolution in Africa must go beyond a focus on a narrow range of staple crops, even though these crops remain important, was an issue pin-pointed by delegates as crucial to future action.


Livestock needs to be put centre stage and smallstock and poultry production are critical for poorer people, and women in particular, delegates said. And while pastoral areas remain a site of extensive poverty, they also hold extraordinary potential. Diversity in crops and livestock was seen as the key to enhancing a range of benefits in terms of production, nutrition and wider resilience of the agricultural and food system.

Ensuring that diversity is central to the Green Revolution challenge will require shifts in the thinking in mainstream professional training. How may university agriculture courses, for example, address wild crop relatives and pastoral issues, one delegate asked? The new Green Revolution requires curriculum reforms from universities through to community-based training and extension.

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