|St. Leger, Raymond|
Submitted to: National Academy Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2008
Publication Date: 7/31/2008
Citation: Larkins, B.A., Bringgs, S.P., Delmer, D.P., Dick, R.P., Flavell, R.B., Gressel, J., Habtemarian, T., Lal, R., St. Leger, R.J., and Wall, R.J. 2009 Emerging technologies to benefit farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 269. Interpretive Summary: Increased agriculture productivity is a major stepping stone on the path out of poverty, but farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia face tremendous challenges improving production. Poor soil, inefficient water use, and a lack of access to plant breeding resources, 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. This report identifies eighteen emerging technologies with the potential to significantly improve agriculture productivity in sub-Saharan Aftrica and South Asia. Tools and technologies that largely already exist, though new from the perspective of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, need to be and could be quickly adapted to serve the needs of this region. There is also a need to utilize emerging technologies, still in the conceptual stage, to develop wholly new approaches that could leap-frog approaches currently used in developed nations to the specific benefit of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian farmers. In general, technologies with the greatest potential impact on agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are those that help to: 1) manage the natural resource base; 2) improve the genetic characteristic of crops and animals; 3) reduce biotic constrains (disease, pests, weeds) that decrease yields and 4) make available affordable, renewable energy for farmers. Although these technologies offer many opportunities to address the changes to agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, a broader set of factors will influence the ability of a technology to have a positive impact on productivity. A whole suite of approaches – some technologic and some not – must come together for farmers to realize the benefit of any innovation. Scientist from all backgrounds have an opportunity to become involved in bringing these and other technologies to fruition.
Technical Abstract: N/A