Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, January 24, 2011

Launch of 'The New Harvest' by Prof. Juma

Professor Calestous Juma at the
London launch of The New Harvest
17 January 2011. London. School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest outlines the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. The New Harvest is a product of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Keynote address by Professor Calestous Juma, Harvard University:Africa can feed itself in a generation

Professor Juma began by saying that his new book carries a very simple message: Africa can feed itself in a generation. This can happen provided that heads of states work together and the contribution of other sectors of the economy, beyond agriculture (for instance building roads), is properly recognised. The continent should leverage the scientific knowledge that is already available, drawing on the experience of its predecessors – countries that followed a similar development path. 

Professor Juma emphasised that regional integration represents a real opportunity for African countries to specialise and trade among one another. The book is full of examples of how it is already happening in a range of countries. 

The speaker challenged the notion of development as a transition from agriculture to services. On the contrary, a country can industrialise while developing agriculture. Indeed, according to the author, Africa’s industrialisation will be driven by agricultural development. 

Panel discussion:
  • Lord Sainsbury, Businessman and former Science Minister: Science can help increase agricultural productivity and thus contribute to poverty reduction
  • Countess of Mar, Independent Peer and farmer: Europeans must stop telling African people what to do
  • Professor Sir Conway, Imperial College: Professor Juma is sending a timely and optimistic message
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