What is revolutionary about the Green Revolution?

The dramatic increase in yields of wheat and rice in the 1960s and 1970s in India, along with many other countries in the post-colonial world, was framed as a technological breakthrough made possible by miracle hybrid seed varieties. This breakthrough ostensibly averted mass scale hunger and was central, so the story goes, to realising substantive…

politicians tower over a mass of people in a rural setting with political signs

Turning the populist tide

The last week has seen major gains for nationalist, populist parties in elections, both in Europe and India. Is this the end of the centre-ground consensus? What are the alternatives? In India, the BJP swept to victory on the back of anti-Muslim rhetoric and Hindu nationalist slogans. Only Kerala stood out as a state where…

EU Elections: what does populism mean for rural people?

As countries across Europe await the results of the European Union elections, the campaigns of authoritarian and populist political movements are once again in the news. A new collection of articles shows this not only to be a European phenomenon, but worldwide. And rural people, often forgotten or stereotyped, are crucial both in supporting and…

Antimicrobial resistance and behaviour: an interview with Ayako Ebata

Agricultural economist Dr Ayako Ebata was interviewed in The AMR Studio, a podcast dedicated to interdisciplinary research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR) produced by Uppsala  University. Dr Ebata specialises in value chain analysis and as part of her work for the Myanmar Pig Partnership she is considering value chains in the context of antimicrobial resistance and…

Railway

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative: what’s in it for Africa?

The huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum recently concluded in Beijing. 37 heads of state attended, along with droves of policy advisors and numerous thinktanks and research institutes, including IDS where I work. Monica Mutsvanga, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, attended on behalf of the Zimbabwe government. By all accounts it was…

Unpacking the epic narratives of the Green Revolution

by Lidia Cabral, Poonam Pandey and Xiuli Xu Nearly 50 years since its apex, the Green Revolution – a chapter in history associated with rapid expansion in agricultural production driven by science and technology – retains the power to inspire. In spite of the criticism emphasising its social and environmental costs, there is talk about…

Dam viewed from above

Rediscovering the Water-Food-Energy Nexus

A few months ago, I presented the findings of a new book, The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice, to an International Water Association conference on the same topic at Salerno. To my great surprise, I was the only social scientist out of 200 participants. Nexus approaches help to bridge the separate domains of water,…

Farmers with irrigation channels

Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?

by Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene We often hear that irrigation in Africa is too limited, and that the key to a “green revolution” on the continent is to expand to levels seen in Asia. But what if there is much more small-scale, informal irrigation in Africa than we thought? Could this be…

farmers in dryland landscape

Five problems with ‘integrated assesment’ models, and what to do about them

What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making about future management? These questions are at the heart of three recently published journal articles…

Milk market

Pastoralist milk is a viable commodity. What enables it to flourish?

Pastoralists’ integration into market dynamics is mostly addressed through the lens of trade in meat products, involving male traders. Pastoral milk, mostly traded by women, is often ignored. But good production of healthy milk is definitely the best way to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of a pastoral system at whatever level. Milk is central…