21st century Green Revolution

21st century Green Revolution and technology transfers in the Global South

Conveners

Lídia Cabral, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK,

Poonam Pandey, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India,

Xiuli Xu, China Agriculture University, China (tbc)

Description

Over the past decade there has been a renewed focus on the role of agriculture in driving development in Africa. In 2003, the African Union’s New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) launched its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a pan-African policy framework to guide public spending and investments in agriculture and raise productivity, stimulate growth and reduce poverty (NEPAD 2003). Attention was immediately turned to Green Revolutions of the past and their achievements in food production, yields and exports were highlighted as a guiding model for Africa. The Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was created in 2006 with support from philanthropic American foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation that played an influential role in some of the Green Revolutions of the 20th century. But the new century has seen important changes in the geopolitics of international development, with the rise of new players and centres of power. In this context, countries like Brazil, China and India, that had experienced Green Revolutions of sorts, quickly emerged as key references and sources of models and technologies to assist the desired African Green Revolution. South-South cooperation (SSC) became a channel for flowing ideas, knowledge, technology and financial resources into African agriculture. Highlighting physical affinities (related to climate and soils), the Southern agricultural powers have started marketing their presumably better suited agricultural science and technology to replicate in Africa their successful agricultural undertakings. But to what extent do the experiences of these countries and their agricultural science and technology transferrable into African countries? And how effective is SSC as a channel for transfer? This panel seeks to explore experiences with South-South agricultural technology transfer and focus specifically on the role of ‘knowledge agents’ (organisations, scientists and technicians involved in agricultural technology transfers) in the frontline of the technological exchange. It will discuss their knowledge framings or epistemologies and the underlying politics of knowledge production and transfer, in the context of SSC.

We look forward to receiving papers that focus on the following (or related) topics:

  • How does the Green Revolution experience shape current technology transfers by countries like Brazil, India and China?
  • How do claims of affinity and technological suitability vis-à-vis Africa compare between Brazil, China and India?
  • Who are the key knowledge agents leading agricultural technology transfers from Brazil, China and India into Africa and what drives them?
  • What is included in the technology transfer ‘package’ they carry along and why? And how are technological transfers carried out?
  • How do the experiences of Brazil, China and India compare? And do they differ from the experiences of American philanthropic organisations in Africa (e.g. AGRA)?
  • What is the evidence of impact of the South-South technology transfers?