Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture

Africa is rich in both natural and human resources, yet nearly 200 million of its people are undernourished because of inadequate food supplies.  Comprehensive strategies are needed across the continent to harness the power of science and technology (S&T) in ways that boost agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability -- ultimately ensuring that all Africans have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs.  This report addresses the question of how science and technology can be mobilized to make that promise a reality.

Africa is rich in both natural and human resources, yet nearly 200 million of its people are undernourished because of inadequate food supplies.  Comprehensive strategies are needed across the continent to harness the power of science and technology (S&T) in ways that boost agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability -- ultimately ensuring that all Africans have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs.  This report addresses the question of how science and technology can be mobilized to make that promise a reality.

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    Speciosa Wandira KAZIBWE is former Vice-President of the Republic of Uganda and a former Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Harvard University. She received a medical degree from Makerere University in Kampala. She has been very active in programs relating to youth and women. She was a Councilor in the Kampala City Council, a Representative in the Parliament and a member of the assembly that drafted Uganda's new Constitution. She has also been active in the World Forestry Commission, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the World Water Commission, the High Level Panel of Advisors to the Secretary-General of the UN on the Development of Africa and the African Women Committee on Peace and Development. She was awarded the FAO CERES Medal in 1998 for her contributions to food security and poverty eradication.

    Rudy RABBINGE is Dean of the Wageningen Graduate School in The Netherlands and university professor for sustainable development and systems innovation. A biologist by training, he worked for the past 30 years in various functions on the ecologization of agriculture. As Professor of theoretical production ecology (1978-1998), he initiated programs in the application of basic knowledge to innovative processes for primary production and systems approaches in agricultural research. He has led various missions and agricultural programs in developing countries, served as editor of several journals, published more than 100 scientific publications, five textbooks and more than 200 other publications. He served on the Board of six centers in international agricultural research and was Chairman of the Board of IRRI (1995-2000). He was member of the Netherlands Prime Minister's Scientific Council for Government Policy (1988-1998) and senior advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Nature (1992-1999). He is at present a member of the Senate of the Netherlands Parliament, Vice-chairman of the Royal Institute of the Tropics and member of the Board of various international agri-business firms.

    M.S. SWAMINATHAN has worked for the past 45 years with scientists and policy makers on a wide range of problems in basic and applied plant genetics, as well as in agricultural research and development. As Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, he developed a strong food security system in India. As one of the leaders of the Green Revolution in India, he now recognizes the need for an 'Evergreen Revolution' to extend the benefits of development to the most marginalized. His work in crop genetics and sustainable agricultural development in India and the Third World earned him the first World Food Prize in 1987, the Tyler and Honda Prizes in 1991 and the UNEP Sasakawa Award in 1994. He served as Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1972-1978) and of the International Rice Research Institute (1982-1988). He served as independent Chairman of the FAO Council (1981-1985) and as the President of International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (1984-1990). He was the President of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India and is member of various academies including the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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