Most of the readers of this blog are familiar with the Green Revolution which, according to Wikipedia,
refers to a series of research, and development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1960s, that increased agricultural production worldwide, particularly in the developing world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s.
The name most often associated with the Green Revolution is that of Norman Borlaug. Borlaug was a plant scientist and University of Minnesota alumnus whose work on plant breeding led to the maize yield improvements that paved the way for greater food security since the 1970s. Borlaug also won the Nobel peace prize for his work.
The innovations brought forth by the Green Revolution worked really well in Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Latin America (in his book Food Politics, Rob Paarlberg has a good discussion of the institutional differences that led to different outcomes). The Green Revolution, however, has almost completely bypassed Africa (with the result that African yields have either stagnated or decreased over the last few decades), so a lot of the discussion surrounding food policy debates in recent years has focused on how an African Green Revolution can happen, and what it will look like. Continue reading