A few weeks ago, Rachel Schurman and I published The Complex Choreography of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Africa in the journal African Affairs. In the article, we surveyed nearly 30 years of strategic and well-funded efforts by donors to bring GMOs to Africa. These efforts, we contend, have so far yielded very little. How come? We argue that … Continue reading Sharing findings with different audiences
On October 23, 2019, the University of San Francisco hosted five leading African food sovereignty activists for a night of discussion, food, and networking. We were fortunate to hear from Victoria Adongo (Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana), Mariam Bassey-Orovwuje (Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa), Dr. Million Belay (Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa), Mariam … Continue reading The Fight for the Future of Food
Earlier this week, Ghanaian scientists announced they plan to name a new sweet potato variety after fellow countryman Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General who died on August 18 of this year. The primary investigator overseeing the sweet potato project, Dr. Ernest Baafi, told reporters the naming was in tribute of Annan's work with the … Continue reading A Potato Named Kofi
Why aren't rich and tasty food cultures more central to development efforts?
It's been two years since Ghana's High Court overturned a temporary injunction on the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) rice and cowpea. Since then, research on both have continued (though there was no indication that it stopped during the injunction), and GM cowpea is slated to hit the market in 2018.
By using "The Case for Colonialism" as a point of departure to discuss Ghanaian school curriculum, my intention is not to overlook the very real problematics of the article, nor to suggest that Gilley's argument is exceptional (it is not). Rather, I believe the quick lining up of for/against overlooks the need to interrogate the very real ways in which colonial legacies exist within, and mark, every day life.
The Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture resigned today after calling northern Ghanaian farmers "liars," "very difficult people," and accusing them of extortion. Many were understandably, and rightfully, upset at the Deputy Minister's comments, but I argue that his comments, though vile, are not exceptional. During fieldwork, I regularly encountered super negative discourse about Ghanaian farmers from technocrats in Accra. In this blog post, I share some of these encounters, and muse about their importance.
There is a way in which popular media and development literature presents Africa, and Africans, as paralyzed by modernity, at a standstill: young people leaving agriculture and going to cities, inequalities rising, cities exploding, changing tastes via KFC and packaged noodles like Indomie. The flicker of hope du jour is tech, and writers, especially when discussing agriculture, often cite high … Continue reading On tech, representation, and African agriculture