From Asia to Africa: Building Africa’s Green Revolution on sustainable agricultural technology and practices developed in Asia
Manila, Philippines (23 October 2023) — The success of the Green Revolution technologies that transformed several rice-growing Asian countries from importers to exporters can be the foundation of Africa’s Green Revolution.
Rice is a promising cereal crop for Africa because the agricultural technologies developed for Asia under the Green Revolution have high transferability, according to Dr. Keijiro Otsuka, a professor of Development Economics at the Graduate School of Economics at Kobe University.
Dr.Otsuka, who co-authored “An African Green Revolution” with Donald F. Larson, laid out the pathway for transforming African agriculture from a subsistence model to a sustainable sector that improves the livelihoods of farming households and national growth at the recently held 6th International Rice Congress.
In the coming years, the African continent will continue to be at the center of climatic shocks as it experiences severe droughts, shorter rainy seasons, and increasing salinity. Rice-producing Asian countries can provide great support in the development of rice-based systems in Africa by providing knowledge, skills, and practices, which can, in turn, help the two continents achieve global self-sufficiency by 2030.
Dr. Otsuka, circling back to his point of scaling technologies from Asia , recounts observing African farmers in some areas during the harvest season bring knives to their rice fields every week because different tilled areas grow at different rates.
“Due to lack of leveling, some plants grow fast, some grow later,” he said.
There is evidence that extension programs effectively increased rice yields in the continent by making technologies available and helping farmers understand how these tools can help close rice yield gaps in the continent. Rice cultivation training programs also proved to be sustainable as participants were able to share their lessons with non-participants.