The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa Paperback – Jan 28 2011
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This is a refreshing new book that steps back from the usual debates about approriate agricultural policies and programmes interventions for redressing Africa's pressing poverty and food security needs... Calestous Juma develops a compelling vision of how knowledge and innovation systems that bring together the best of modern science and local knowledge could - with the encouragement of entrepreneurship throughout value chains, the right kinds of public-private partnerships and the opening of regional markets - lead to agricultural growth clusters that would drive national and regional economic growth across Africa... There is much wisdom in this book. Peter Hazell, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London [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 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 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 ...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 Juma has made a highly valuable and timely effort towards putting agricultural science, technology development, innovation and education back on the agenda of African leaders. Rolf A. E. Mueller, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture
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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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.
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