Science and Technology: GM Crops and Inorganic Fertilizers versus Organics and 'Natural' Farming
Boma Anga, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR); Chair of Nepad's Pan-African Cassava Initiative, and Cassava Agro Industries of Nigeria;
Michael Gale, John Innes Foundation Research Fellow; member of the Science Council of the CGIAR;
Peter Hazell, Visiting Professor, Imperial College London;
Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED)
There is a new determination, and increased funding, to promote science-based agricultural development in Africa. But why are spending and commitments so sluggish? Is this because 'He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still'?
Many African leaders, now under pressure to respond to the growing demand for fertilisers, irrigation and modern plant breeding, harbour deep doubts about these - as do some opinion-forming NGOs. Do the physical crises of African agriculture - food output per head lower than in the 1960s, soil erosion and nutrient loss, water scarcity - require 'organic', low-input, farming with minimal modern inputs, or science-based, yet conservation-sensitive, farm development and research?