Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 554183
Title Toward an African Green Revolution? An Anthropology of Rice Research in Sierra Leone
Author(s) Richards, Paul
Source In: The Ecology of Practice / Nyerges, A.E., New York : Taylor and Francis (Food and Nutrition in history and anthropology ) - ISBN 9789056995744 - p. 201 - 252.
Department(s) Development Economics
Knowledge Technology and Innovation
Publication type Peer reviewed book chapter
Publication year 2016

Scientific plant improvement dates from the beginning of the twentieth century. Application of the principles of selection and breeding to the rice plant yielded modest results in the period up until the 1950s. In the following decade, breeders working in Southeast Asia focused their attention on a new plant ideotype - the semi-dwarf rice type. 1 Earlier improved rices out-yielded farmer’s selections by 10-20%, but the productivity gains with semi-dwarf types were much greater. In some cases yields were doubled or trebled. The uptake of semi-dwarf varieties by farmers in better-favored environments of South and Southeast Asia was dramatic during the 1960s and early 1970s. The resulting leap in productivity was dubbed the “Green Revolution.�? Development agencies then set about the task of replicating the technical success of the Green Revolution in other humid tropical regions. Despite concerted attempts to introduce the new rice technologies to small-scale farmers through integrated agricultural development projects in the 1970s and 1980s, success in Africa’s traditional rice regions has proved especially elusive. The present chapter, a case study of rice research and its impact in the nodal country of the West African rice region - Sierra Leone - is an attempt to assess some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Green Revolution approach to plant improvement in Africa, and to consider alternatives.

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