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Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (2009)

Chapter:Appendix C: Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists." National Research Council. 2009. Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12455.
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Page259
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists." National Research Council. 2009. Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12455.
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Page260
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists." National Research Council. 2009. Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12455.
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Page261
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists." National Research Council. 2009. Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12455.
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Page262

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Appendix C Responses from Sub-Saharan African and South Asian Scientists To understand the agricultural constraints facing farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the committee asked for direct input from scientists in those regions. The committee staff sent letters to more than 200 scientists by e-mail in late May 2007 (see Box C-1). The committee is grateful to the 45 respondents below who provided valuable insight on the most serious constraints in agriculture in sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia. Nur Abdi, Global Forum on Agricultural Research Anne Starks Acosta, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa Sampson Agodzo, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology Mpoko Bokanga, African Agricultural Technology Foundation Boniface Bouan, Centre National de Recherche Agronomique de Côte d’Ivoire Claudio Bragantini, affiliation unknown Joyce Cacho, The Corporate Council on Africa Tim Chancellor, Natural Resources Institute Kazhila Chinsembu, University of Namibia Remi Cole, The New Partnership for Africa’s Development Thomas W. Crawford, Jr., International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development Dr. Mohammed El Mourid, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Tunis Kenedy Etone Epie, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Mary Jean M. Gabriel, Department of Agriculture, South Africa 259

260 Appendix C Les Hillowitz, CropLife Africa Middle East Assetou Kanoute, affiliation unknown Dyno Keatinge, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics Monica Kapiriri, Non-governmental Organisations Committee Saidou Koala, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics Elisa Lenssen, Harvard University K.B. Liphadzi, Limpopo Department of Agriculture Chebet Maikut, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation BOX C-1 Letter Inviting Comment about the Most Serious Constraints on Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia Dear Colleague: I am writing on behalf of a National Research Council committee exploring emerging technologies to benefit farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In this one-year study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the committee is tasked with looking over the future horizon to find new areas of science and technology that, if de- veloped into applications for agriculture, might have a major impact on the productivity and income of farmers in those regions. As a first step, the committee will identify major agricultural problems and constraints in these regions, and seeks your help and opinion in this regard. What do you see as the priority problems that require technological solutions in order for farmers in sub- Saharan Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to be more successful and productive? Which problems are so limiting that their solution would be transfor- mative to these producers? The committee is very aware that farmers face complex problems that are intertwined with social, political, and economic circumstances, and that technology is not a solu- tion by itself. Technological innovations are tools that are successful only when they work in a complementary environment. Nevertheless, the committee’s assignment is to envision tools that, in the right set of circumstances, could give farmers more options for producing much more value from the land than they currently achieve. Such tools might dramatically increase crop and animal yields, provide the means to make value-added products, allow farmers more free time to pursue other economic activities, or give farmers greater flexibility in

Appendix C 261 Khaled M. Makkouk, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas Nouri Maman, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger Mkhululi Mankazana, affiliation unknown Peter Matlon, The Rockefeller Foundation Thomas Mbeyela, National Artificial Insemination Centre Sylvie Christel Mbog, Organisme de Developpement et de Conseils Bongeka Mdleleni, Department of Agriculture, South Africa Hodeba Mignouna, African Agricultural Technology Foundation deciding what to grow and when to harvest. These are a vision of ideas that might be advanced with the help of technology. Guided by the Foundation’s request to focus our vision on technological tools that could be developed in 15-20 years, the committee felt there was a need to first cor- rectly identify and define the most serious agricultural problems in these two regions. In addition to working from a series of international and national reports, we are asking colleagues like you from academic institutions and international organizations to help us focus our efforts. We will be most appreciative if you could send us, by e-mail or fax, a brief description of five agricultural problems that you believe should be priorities for the committee. Your input will be most helpful if we receive it by June 30, 2007. At this point in the study, we are primarily focusing on understanding the problems, but if you have a vision of a powerful technological solution for a problem, please feel free to include a description of that in your reply as well. Although the process of gathering information for the study might be accomplished more formally and methodically, time constraints require us to make this informal ap- proach. We believe that our recommendations will be used by the Gates Foundation as an important reference in its future investments in world agriculture. Thank you for considering this request to identify five major problems in agriculture in Africa and South Asia. We look forward to your earliest reply. If you have important papers or documents that could help us understand critical issues, I would be much obliged if you could send them to me for distribution to the committee. Sincerely, Michael Ma Visiting Program Officer

262 Appendix C Esther Mwangi, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Eusebius J. Mukhwana, Sustainable Agriculture Centre for Research and Development in Africa Njabulo Nduli, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa Prosper Nguegang, Coalition pour la promotion de l’agriculture Moses Osiru, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics Helga Recke, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research William Saint, The World Bank Sidi Sanyang, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa Carlos Seré, International Livestock Research Institute Joseph Ssuuna, PELUM Association Moses M. Tenywa, Makerere University Wynand J. van der Walt, FoodNCropBio Consulting and Facilitation Services Ralph Von Kaufman, International Livestock Research Institute Florence Wambugu, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation James E. Womack, Texas A&M University

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Increased agricultural productivity is a major stepping stone on the path out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but farmers there face tremendous challenges improving production. Poor soil, inefficient water use, and a lack of access to plant breeding resources, nutritious animal feed, high quality seed, and fuel and electricity-combined with some of the most extreme environmental conditions on Earth-have made yields in crop and animal production far lower in these regions than world averages.

Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia identifies sixty emerging technologies with the potential to significantly improve agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Eighteen technologies are recommended for immediate development or further exploration. Scientists from all backgrounds have an opportunity to become involved in bringing these and other technologies to fruition. The opportunities suggested in this book offer new approaches that can synergize with each other and with many other activities to transform agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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