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The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa [Paperback]

Calestous Juma

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Book Description

Jan. 28 2011
African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by new threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces two major opportunities that can help it to transform its agriculture and use agriculture as a force for economic growth. First, advances in science and technology worldwide offer African countries new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture. Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade. Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest is a report outlining the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. Incorporating research from academia, government, NGOs, and private industry, the book suggests multiple ways that individual African countries could work together at the regional level to develop local knowledge and resources, harness biotechnological innovation and encourage entrepreneurship, increase agricultural output, create markets, improve infrastructure, and expand Africa's role within the global economy.


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Review


"This is a refreshing new book that steps back from the usual debates about appropriate agricultural policies and programme interventions for redressing Africa's pressing poverty and food security needs, to take a longer-term view of the kinds of science-based interventions that are needed to launch Africa's agricultural sector on a structurally different trajectory...Calestous Juma develops a compelling vision of how knowledge and innovation systems that bring together the best of modern science and local knowledge could...lead to agricultural growth clusters that would drive national and regional economic growth across Africa."--INternational Affairs


"[Calestous Juma's] optimism is refreshing--a welcome antidote to the pessimistic view of African development of previous decades." --Nature


"A remarkably optimistic outlook for agriculture in Africa...Juma's account succeeds in offering a glimpse of the possible. The book provides a welcome relief from the gloom and despair in popular narratives about African agriculture."--Science


"My husband [Lloyd Timberlake, author of Africa in Crisis] came into the house yesterday, tossed me [this] book and said: 'You and your staff should read this book from beginning to end. Every single page. It is all you need to know to do your job.' I have never heard him sound like that about any book!"--Susan Sechler, Managing Director, TransFarm Africa


"Calestous Juma of Harvard University, has produced a book of evidence-based recommendations for transforming African food production. As Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at Harvard, he recognises the shortcomings of the past, particularly the lack of political and, consequently, financial commitment to agriculture, but he also instances the recent changes in political and investment emphasis that could provide foundation for a new and more fruitful era."--New Agriculturist


"Calestous Juma draws on a rich harvest of research to write a convincing analysis of the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sectors of Africa. Hopefully, it will be widely read by scholars and policy analysts across Africa as well as outside. It is a great book."--Elinor Ostrom, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University, and 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences


"Calestous Juma has once again produced a book that will be an important reference for scholars, researchers and practitioners in their search for ways to break the persistent conundrum that is Africa's failure to properly exploit its huge agricultural potential. The book reveals his exceptional ability to express ideas that will be relevant to the emerging trends in Africa's agricultural and political economy."--Monty Jones, Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, and 2004 World Food Prize Laureate


"This book presents a timely analysis of the importance of infrastructure in improving Africa's agriculture. Leaders at national and state levels will benefit immensely from its evidence-based recommendations."--Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


"This book is a forceful reminder of the important role that African women play in agriculture on the continent. It is critical that they are provided with equal educational opportunity as a starting point for building a new economic future for the continent."--Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 2011


"New technologies, especially biotechnology, provide African countries with additional tools for improving the welfare of farmers. I commend this book for the emphasis it places on the critical role that technological innovation plays in agriculture. The study is a timely handbook for those seeking new ways of harnessing new technologies for development, including poor farmers, many of whom are women."--Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso


"The New Harvest underscores the importance of global learning in Africa's agricultural development. It offers new ideas for international cooperation on sustainable agriculture in the tropics. It will pave the way for improved collaboration between Africa and South America."--Laura Chincilla, President of Costa Rica


"Through The New Harvest, Professor Juma is sending a timely and optimistic message, going well beyond what has already been written about agriculture in Africa. The book is timely because we are experiencing a double-dip food price crisis, but also because a new generation of African leaders is committing 10% of their countries' budgets to agriculture. It is optimistic, because many African countries are growing at an impressive pace, including in agricultural productivity."--Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, and author of The Doubly Green Revolution


"Lively, provocative and well-evidenced."--Lawrence Haddad, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex


"I applaud the two main messages of the book: that science and technology can help increase agricultural productivity; and that agricultural productivity is a powerful tool in reducing poverty."--Lord Sainsbury, Businessman and Former UK Science Minister


"This eminently readable book is full of golden nuggets. Calestous Juma goes to great lengths to make clear, particularly to us in the West who think that we have all the solutions for African agriculture, that there is no single solution to Africa's problems. We should listen to the people who must do the seed propogation and promotion, to the women who will grow and harvest the seeds and to those responsible for storage and distribution whilst not forgetting the importance of livestock. He shows how we can help to provide the means by working from the bottom up rather than the top down in education, transport infrastructure, water conservation and power sources. The book should be read by all those intending to help Africa."--Countess of Mar, Independent Peer of the UK House of Lords and Farmer


"With the current economic situation reinforcing the urgency to find lasting solutions to Africa's challenges, The New Harvest is a worthy addition to the discussion."--Daily Monitor, Uganda


About the Author

Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at Harvard University's Kennedy School. He is former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and former co-chair of the African High-Level Panel on Modern Biotechnology of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PERFECT ROAD MAP Jan. 14 2011
By nmac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In just about any dimension you can think of, Africa's role in the 21st century is going to be pivotal for the planet. Every one of the 6.7 billion of us have a stake in how Africa does. Fundamental to it all are the people of Africa, their food, their water, their shelter and security, and their health. Food is one vital key, and just about as vital as it gets. At first the subject seems unbelievably complicated and very challenging to understand and to see a way out of the labyrinth. This book is the guidebook we all need to see the potential roadblocks, detours, washouts, and find the clear road ahead to an Africa that will be good for itself and for the planet. It is written by a world-renowned expert on Africa, Professor Calestous Juma of Harvard University and a Fellow of the Royal Society in the UK. In his book, which is so easily and enjoyably read, Professor Juma does the equivalent of taking us up in a small plane with him and showing us all of Africa's agricultural problems, challenges, and enormous potential, not from ground level of course, and not from 35,000 feet, but from about 10,000 feet where we can see the big picture without losing and of the grainy resolution that is so essential in understanding a subject this complex. It is 217 pages of superbly written text that will easily engage you throughout and will leave you with a excellent framework regarding what can and must be done for Africa, and thus all of us, to succeed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Believing In It Doesn't Make It So Feb. 26 2012
By Britt Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's uncomfortable to see an academic-turned-advocate in action, and that is Calestous Juma in "The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa." Juma clearly wants Africa to be the next big developing region, for obvious reasons: It's his home continent, and he has always cared about it deeply. He also makes an often persuasive case for why his hopes will become true. Africa has great amounts of arable land, labor is cheap, and in many cases, there's nowhere to go but up.

But his enthusiasm at times clouds his judgment. South Sudan, which he contends could by itself feed Africa, truly could do so, as he cites. It also, at the moment, is embroiled in a civil war and does not have the roads or the resources to even come close to becoming a breadbasket within a generation as Juma contends is possible. Similar overhyping mars other parts of the book. A little William Easterly would make Calestous Juma more credible.

Any reader with a conscience wants to share Juma's dream and do what they can to make it a reality. In this book, Juma's heavy boosterism comes dangerously close to undermining his own words. This book is useful and commendable, just not as much as it could be with a more clear-eyed view.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How we got here Jan. 20 2011
By leggogarn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For a fascinating and somewhat philosophical history of the Green Revolution, anyone who reads The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa will also want to read The Seeds We Sow, Kindness That Fed A Hungry World.

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