Policy ForumAgriculture

Science for African Food Security

Science  21 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5610, pp. 1187-1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081978

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Most Africans farm small plots of land that have the potential to feed one family and generate income but, until recently, seldom do. Low soil fertility and crop losses from pests and droughts have reduced harvests to below subsistence levels, and many families have remained in poverty, unable to pay for education or health care. Fortunately, their lives are now improving because of a science-based "Doubly Green Revolution" taking place in parts of Africa. It combines elements of ecological agriculture with crop varieties designed to perform well under low-input and stress conditions, uses inorganic inputs very judiciously, and engages farmers themselves in analyzing their needs and adapting new varieties and agronomic practices to their own conditions. Greater commitments and new partnerships are needed to sustain and expand this revolution in agriculture to small-scale farming families all across Africa.