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Fighting the Food Crisis: Feeding Africa One Family at a Time
Environs Envtl L. & Pol'y J. (2008)
  • Karol C. Boudreaux
  • Adam Aft, George Mason University
Food riots have exploded. Prices for staple goods—wheat, maize, rice—have risen dramatically. 1 in 3 people in sub-Saharan Africa confront hunger and malnutrition, persistent threats. Many of the hungry are Africa’s smallholder farmers, subsistence farmers whose productivity has fallen over the past three decades while agricultural productivity rates have soared in other parts of the word. This article asks: what kinds of strategies, both legal and practical, will it take to effectively address the problem of a food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa? Scholars and politicians point to the need for a Green Revolution for Africa, a new effort to increase agricultural productivity so that farmers can feed themselves, their families, and their communities. Ensuring farmers have access to better quality agricultural inputs is a part of this equation, but a sustainable Green Revolution for Africa needs to be built on a stronger framework. While some scholars argue that the public sector, or public-private partnerships, must supply these inputs because the private sectors lacks incentives to serve smallholders, we draw on fieldwork and discuss a private-sector effort in South Africa that is designed to meet the needs of subsistence farmers, raise productivity, and improve food security. Smallholder farmers, the very backbone of African economies, also need improved land tenure security as well as improved access to regional markets. Both changes would shift incentives for farmers in positive ways. We conclude that a Green Revolution for Africa must be accompanied by a legal revolution.
  • food crisis,
  • Africa,
  • agriculture,
  • technology,
  • land tenure,
  • food aid,
  • trade,
  • barriers
Publication Date
Fall 2008
Citation Information
Karol C. Boudreaux and Adam Aft. "Fighting the Food Crisis: Feeding Africa One Family at a Time" Environs Envtl L. & Pol'y J. Vol. 32 (2008)
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