Advertisement

Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 15–26 | Cite as

Enabling adaptation? Lessons from the new ‘Green Revolution’ in Malawi and Kenya

  • Sally Brooks
Article

Abstract

This article explores the extent to which efforts to improve productivity of smallholder agriculture through a new ‘Green Revolution’ in Sub Saharan Africa are likely to enhance the capacity of smallholder farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Drawing on empirical material from Malawi and Kenya, the paper finds more conflicts than synergies between the pursuit of higher productivity through the promotion of hybrid maize adoption and crop diversification as a strategy for climate change adaptation. This is despite an oft-assumed causal link between escape from the ‘low maize productivity trap’ and progression towards crop diversification as an adaptive strategy. In both countries, a convergence of interests between governments, donors and seed companies, combined with a historical preference for, and dependence on maize as the primary staple, has led to a narrowing of options for smallholder farmers, undermining the development of adaptive capacities in the longer term. This dynamic is linked to the conflation of market-based variety of agricultural technologies, as viewed ‘from the top down’, with diversity-in-context, as represented by site-specific and locally derived and adapted technologies and institutions that can only be developed ‘from the bottom up’.

Keywords

Cassava Adaptive Capacity Climate Change Adaptation Smallholder Farmer Green Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of this article for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Adger WN (2006) Vulnerability. Glob Environ Chang 16:268–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adger WN, Arnell NW, Tompkins EL (2005) Successful adaptation to climate change across scales. Glob Environ Chang 15:77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adger WN, Brown K, Tomkins EL (2006) The political economy of cross-scale networks in resource co-management. Ecol Soc 10(2):9Google Scholar
  4. Alarcon D & Bodouroglou C (2011) Sustainable Agricultural Innovation Systems (SAIS) for Food Security and Green Economies. International Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development. UNRISD, Geneva (10–11 Oct). Available at: www.unrisd.org/80256B42004CCC77/(httpInfoFiles)/CAB6618273F277C0C12579290041EB16/$file/6-1%20Alarcon%20and%20Bodouroglou, 2011
  5. Borras SM, McMichael P, Scoones I (2010) The politics of biofuels, land and agrarian change: editors’ introduction. J Peasant Stud 37:575–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks S, Burges-Watson D, Draper A, Goodman M, Kvalvaag H, Wills W (2013) Chewing on choice. In: Abbots EJ, Lavis A (eds) Why we eat, how we eat: Contemporary encounters between food and bodies. Ashgate, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks S, Loevinsohn M (2011) Shaping agricultural innovation systems responsive to food insecurity and climate change. Nat Res Forum 35:185–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks S, Thompson J, Odame H, Kibaara B, Nderitu S, Karin F, Millstone E (2009) Environmental change and maize Innovation in Kenya: exploring pathways in and out of maize. STEPS Working Paper 36. STEPS Centre, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  9. Chinsinga B (2011) Seeds and subsidies: the political economy of input programmes in Malawi. IDS Bull 42:59–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chinsinga B, Chasukwa M, Naess LO (2012) Climate change and agricultural policy processes in Malawi. Working Paper 046. Future Agricultures, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  11. Chinsinga B, Mangani R, Mvula P (2011) The political economy of adaptation through crop diversification in Malawi. IDS Bull 42:110–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chirwa EW, Dorward A, Matita M (2011) Conceptualising graduation from agricultural input subsidies in Malawi. Working paper 29. FAC, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  13. de Groote H, Owuor G, Doss CR, Ouma J, Muhammad L, Danda K (2005) The maize green revolution in Kenya revisited. J Agric Dev Econ 2:32–49Google Scholar
  14. Devereux S (1998) The New famines: Why famines exist in an era of globalization, RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Devereux S (2009) Why does famine persist in Africa? Food Secur 1:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dorward A, Chirwa E (2011) The Malawi agricultural input subsidy programme: 2005-6 to 2008-9. Int J Agric Sustain 9:232–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Edquist C (1997) Systems of innovation: Technologies, institutions and organisations. Pinter, London and WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  18. Ely A, Van Zwanenberg P, Stirling A (2013) “Broadening out and opening up technology assessment: Approaches to enhance international development, co-ordination and democratisation” Res Polic. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.09.004
  19. Foresight (2011) The future of food and farming: Challenges and choices for global sustainability. Final Project Report. London: The Government Office for ScienceGoogle Scholar
  20. Freeman C (1995) The ‘National System of Innovation’ in historical perspective. Camb J Econ 19:5–24Google Scholar
  21. Gallopin GC (2006) Linkages between vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity. Glob Environ Chang 16:293–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ghosh J (2010) The unnatural coupling: food and global finance. J Agrar Chang 10:72–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. GoK (2004) Strategy for revitalising agriculture 2004–2014. Ministry of agriculture and and minstry of livestock and fisheries development, government of Kenya, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  24. Haggblade S, Longabaugh S, Tschirley D (2009) Spatial patterns of food staple production and marketing in South East Africa: Implications for trade policy and emergency response. MSU International Development Working Paper Paper No. 100. Michigan State University, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  25. Heisey PW & Edmeades GO (1999) Maize production in drought-stressed environments: Technical options and research resource allocations. Part 1 of World Maize Facts and Trends 1997/8; Maize Production in Drought-Stressed Environments: Technical Options and Research Resource Allocations. Mexico D.F.: CIMMYTGoogle Scholar
  26. IAASTD (2009) Agriculture at a crossroads: Synthesis report - international assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  27. IPCC (2007) The physical science basis, summary for policymakers. Contribution of Working Group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. IPCC Secretariat, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  28. Javdani M (2012) Malawi's agricultural input subsidy: study of a Green Revolution-style strategy for food security. Int J Agric Sustain 10:150–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kibaara B, Gitau R, Kimenju S, Nyoro J, Bruntrup M & Zimmermann R (2009) Agricultural policy-making in Sub Saharan Africa: CAADP progress in Kenya, Egerton university. Tegemeo institute of agricultural policy and developmentGoogle Scholar
  30. Kimenyi MS, Routman B, Westbury A (2012) CAADP at 10: Progress towards agricultural prosperity. Policy Paper. Brookings, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Lemos MC, Boyd E, Tompkins EL, Osbahr H, Liverman D (2007) Developing adaptation and adapting development. Ecol Soc 12:26Google Scholar
  32. Loevinsohn ME (2011) Seasonal hunger; the 2001-3 famine and the dynamics of HIV in Malawi. In: Devereux S, Sabates-Wheeler R (eds) Seasonality, rural livelihoods and development. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Maina I, Okoti M, Newsham A (2012) Climate chaos, policy dilemmas. Research Update 4. Future Agricultures Consortium, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  34. Odame H, Muange E (2011) Can agro-dealers deliver the green revolution in Kenya? IDS Bull 42:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Orindi VA, Ochieng A (2005) Case Study 5: Kenya. Seed fairs as a drought recovery strategy in Kenya. IDS Bull 36:87–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Oxfam (2012) Food crisis in the horn of Africa: Progress Report, July 2011 – July 2012. Oxfam International, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Scoones I, Thompson J (2011) The politics of seed in Africa’s green revolution: alternative narratives and competing pathways. IDS Bull 42:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Spratt S (2013) Food price volatility and financial speculation. Working Paper 47. Future Agricultures Consortium, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  39. Sumberg J (2005) Systems of innovation theory and the changing architecture of agricultural research in Africa. Food Policy 30:21–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Temel T, Janssen W, Karimov F (2003) Systems analysis by graph theoretical techniques: assessment of the agricultural innovation system of Azerbaijan. Agric Syst 77:91–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Eriksen PJ, Challinor AJ (2011) Agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a 4°C+ world. Philos Trans R Soc 369:117–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vermeulen S, Zougmor R, Wollenberg E, Thornton P, Nelson G, Kristjanson P, Kinyangi J, Jarvis A, Hansen J & Challinor A (2012) Climate change, agriculture and food security: a global partnership to link research and action for low-income agricultural producers and consumers. Curr Opin Environ SustainGoogle Scholar
  43. World Bank (2006) Enhancing agricultural innovation: How to go beyond the strengthening of research systems. World Bank, Washington DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations