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Can the Green Revolution Reduce Poverty and Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa?

The Green Revolution brought about a great increase in crop yields in some countries in the Global South. Hybridised seeds produced more grains per plant and were more responsive to fertiliser and irrigation. But the effects of this “revolution” were famously uneven, the farming environment in sub-Saharan Africa wasn’t as well suited to the technologies as Asia and Latin America. In the past 20 years, a newer model of the Green Revolution has emerged predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. Domestic and international agribusinesses have a much more prominent place. The Green Revolution of the past was more heavily supported by public and quasi-public institutions. Now the private sector is encouraged to take the lead role in distributing agricultural inputs and getting outputs to market. The idea is to commercialise production and integrate farmers into global markets. The contemporary version of the Green Revolution is promoted largely by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the G7/G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa, the World Bank, USAID, the African Union among others. These donors generally take the view that African agriculture must be transformed to use land more efficiently and catch up with the productivity levels of other regions.