22 July, 2023


Agriculture helped to develop civilizations throughout the world. But for thousands of years, it had practiced in conventional ways. Post-WWII technological advancement radically changed the way of practices agriculture. Aftermath of decolonization, new born states faces acute food crisis. 

The badly needed more food to feed its dwellers. Regarding to this aim, a revolution was happened in agricultural sectors called Green Revolution. Unlike other continents, Africa haven’t success yet in adapting such advances of Green Revolution. 

For better utilization, Alliance of Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has created by some international agencies, this helped African farmers through funding, best seeds and communication system.  However, In this writing we will try to understand about Green revolution and  AGRA in details. 

 What is green revolution

Generally green revolution  indicates to the reformation and renovation in agricultural productions. This renovation had radically changed historic tradition, the conventional way of agricultural practicing. 

The term green revelation though first emerged in the land of Mexico, the words officially first used by William S Gaud- the chairman of USAID in 1960s. So this renovated technology surprised all by the amount of agricultural productions in 1940s to 1950s, which created its appealing worldwide. 

In addition, it created surplus amount of productions , which  facilitated export sectors of producing countries. On the contrary, many import dependent states became self sufficient with the blessing of this noble technologies  and scientific advancements. 

Moreover, as green   revolution created new supply chain of both agricultural products and technologies- many governmental affiliated domestic and overseas agencies came forward with funding for more and more research, and Rockefeller foundation and the Ford foundation were the prominent. 

So this  huge funding helped to create first institution called international Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. 

Major agricultural countries got benefited from such institutional agricultural development. More and more agencies were developed rapidly to facilitate the research on various corps- seasonal or regional to ensure food security of the region. 

It also helped many countries to mitigate the effects of drought or famine. For example Indian government overcome from a great famine in 1960s due to the help from Ford foundation. The foundation developed variety of rice and wheat seeds which produced more grains in per acre to satisfy its dwellers. 

The development of domesticated plants breeding is on of the great innovation of green technology. It gives the family a chance to be self sufficient also. 

Green  revolution has never been possible without the development of fertilizers. Because the invention of large amount of seeds could not go further without the help of fertilizers. In addition, Green  Revolution radically  changed the conventional way of irrigation as the farmer had to wait for the seasons or on river or rainwaters for harvesting. 

Harsh geographic barriers have won by farmers through the help of updated  irrigation facilities. Based on irrigation facilities,  a variety of corpse seeds have developed, and also selected some seeds particularly for improving its production capacity. 

However, there’s some criticism available over the  Revolution,  but Green Revolution  technologies has been supported to ensure food security who is  dire need for regions like Asia and Africa and also Latin America. 

Green Revolution in Africa:

Agricultural development has been dire need for the continent of Africa, particularly for sub Saharan region. In every year, the  Sub Saharan region suffers from acute  food crisis because of draught, famine, malnutrition, epidemic spreading etc. And this food crisis is the result of a lack of agricultural productions. 

There are a number of reasons behind such low productivity in Africa including, traditional way of agricultural practicing, natural calamities, soil depletion, infrastructural underdevelopment and many others. Moreover, in sub Saharan region, almost half of national GDP are coming from agricultural production or agricultural sectors. 

Unlike other reasons such as Asia, Latin America that are trying to  advance equally in both agricultural and non agricultural measures (e.g. Technologies, service sectors, infrastructural development etc.), Africa doesn’t help any other alternatives  but producing more agricultural productions and contribute its GDP. 

And agricultural productions has been serving for many purposes in Africa namely, the production of food and fibers, the saving of foreign reserves through exporting more raw materials, the establishment more and more agro- related  industries, the enhancement of socio economic development etc. 

For the continuation of this development scholars suggest a stable and progressive agricultural productions, but in Africa this seems as little hope. And then the Idea of green revolution comes as a blessing for African agricultural productions. 

As I mentioned above that the green revolution brought about a foundational changes in agricultural practices through technological advancements and scientific inventions, and from the beginning   agro dependent Africa has been keen to apply this technological blessing in its continent. 

But, Interestingly, Africa remained inexperienced in developing and promoting its agro- based culture, though a large amount of financial assistance African states received yearly. It is contrasted to other parts of the world- Asia and Latin America, because they get the same amount of funding to enrich their agriculture, and they have been getting good in doing so. But why not Africa? 

Since the beginning of Green Revolution- African countries were in difficult position in  adopting this new trend of agriculture. Where other  regions Like Latin America and Asia, almost all the states had independent and ready to go with this   technologies. 

But African were struggling for their freedom until 1990s. besides this political self dependency, climate changes  such as fluctuation in rainfall, lack of irrigation facilities, marginalized population, lack of agricultural labors as they become settled in major cities, and most importantly, the lack of communications facilities  etc. it created the adoption more challenging.

Moreover, African states also suffered since they did not focus on increasing production per unit area rather the took area expansion policies to crop more. As a result, deforestation  in Africa started largely. 

Population rate in sub Saharan countries rise rapidly. And the every level food from conventional agriculture has not kept pace with us growing population. In addition, tribal land distribution systems in the region fragmented the available fertile lands into pieces. 

The green revolution formulates many approaches to laid the foundation for both agriculture and economic growth, the “one fits all” is one of them. This formula easily suited in Asia and Latin America, but not in Africa. 

What Africa needs has been called a “rainbow” of crop improvement revolutions that combine productivity growth for many different crops and place greater emphasis on farmer participation, local adaptation, strengthening national and local institutions, and the building of agricultural value chains that enables farmers to generate profits from surplus production.  

What African was needed- Institutional support, and they Got it. Among governmental affiliated agencies the Rockefeller foundation has been funding the continent for many years. The Foundation identified that as the agricultural practicing in Africa was different from others they need extra attention. 

In 1999, the foundation founded its office in Nairobi Kenya, and later,  formulated a extended policy that has 3 features:

  • Using best fertilizers to enhance the capacity of soil fertility; improving irrigation facilities for adequate plant breeding; and introducing innovative farming apparatus for better result. 

  • Encouraging farmers to cultivate staple seeds to satisfy society; planting more updated corps for high productions; and ensuring resilient crops to secure food availability of others;

  •  Creating a more stable markets for both selling or buying developed seeds; re-constructing previous with new advance ones; and enriching countries economic growth. 

To concretize the  above mentioned features, the African countries needed a more collaborative position. As they are not  well aware Of technological use, so they go for alliance for green revolution in Africa, in short AGRA.

Alliance of Green Revolution in Africa.

Like Rockefeller Foundation, many new agencies are coming towards Africa, and this time private ones like Gates Foundation. Not even states based collaboration happened, agencies emerged and coopted many previous policies developed by Rockefeller Foundation. 

Many agencies have worked in together before and have a lot of experienced in securing health and environmental security. They go for a joint venture in designing a more comprehensive roadmap on agricultural development of the continent. 

So with help of Gates and Rockefeller Foundation Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa- AGRA established in 2006 to carry out the comprehensive policies have taken those Foundations. Nairobi is its Headquarter. AGRA started its functions with $150 million. Gradually this funding are increasing upon the above 3 factors soil, seeds and market. Both African and Westerners are involved in doing so. 

By structural default, AGRA can participate as a bridge between government and Foundations on building a developing partnership. They would identify Agricultural zones for marginalized people- the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of these farms. 

AGRA would help utilise the funding through consultations with government. Monitoring and evolution is an important part of every programme launched under AGRA. This evaluation referring that value chain has been remain essential in ideological development of AGRA. And this ideological development depends upon 4 factors, namely

  • Education for African agricultural improvement: 

AGRA encourages young academicians to carry out their career on agricultural sectors. That has a good result in reducing the pressure from the states to hire some overseas expertise on agriculture. Much of funding they offered for M.Sc. on agriculture. 

Besides the government help local public Universities to continue research over crop improvement. With the help of these Foundations, AGRA through the governments open fellowship program, mostly in Ph.D. on Agricultural improvement in overseas universities such as Cornell University and Washington University. 

Moreover, AGRA arranges public discussion, experts hiring, arranged symposiums and vocational training on agriculture that will help the governments creating awareness among people. 

  • Improvement and adoption of African crops:

Addressing yielding losses in Africa is another important function of AGRA. It helps to facilitate breeding among variety of unproductive crop. AGRA as well as the government are provided much of funding on breeding research community. AGRA encourages any initiatives from domestic or international seeds companies about research with much funding. 

Moreover, AGRA has been funding the development process of National Research Institutes for African Nations to improve and accelerate their breeding programmes. AGRA has also started field coordination programmes. 

In addition, AGRA  launches many training  for graduate and Ph.D. students which building habituate with field environment and developing on breeding programmes, and creating local awareness. And funding will be available from AGRA on breeding programmes. 

  • Seed production for Africa

One of the major roles of AGRA is to carry out supply of improved crop among poor farmers. For gaining this objectives, AGRA consulted with government to establish more and more seed enterprise locally whether private or public, and AGRA sought on further development of this enterprises through funding and technical supports.  

This endeavor helps for rapid, decentralized dissemination of new developed crop to farmers. And  AGRA will support public sector and NGO-based seed initiatives to disseminate seed the private sector fails to express any interest in investing in the dissemination of a new, seed-based crop variety.

  • Agro dealer Development Program 

As I mentioned above that They scattered peoples with scattered lands had a few chances to engage directly with dealers rather local markets. As they get few seats, the production becomes limited. 

AGRA Emphasizes that local dealership could be very beneficial in updating more corps. So with the help of NGOs Agra is planned 2 provide more funding to create more agro enterprise locally. Agree also said that with the help of this NGOs these local dealers can train over business management and farmers on agriculture. 

This NGOs would also help marginal farmers to habituate  with advance agricultural apparatus. In addition, AGRA helps in establishing National Agro-Dealer Union, a concrete structures in dealing such local issues and gradually development the seed production and supply through funding. 


Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has been very supportive for the development of Agricultural sectors in Africa. Green Revolution brought about a radical shift in their domesticated seeds breeding. 

More production capacity developed through modern irrigation and advance seeds. Many foundations provided extensive funding on research based Agricultural sectors. Training projects are run by many NGOs under the motto of AGRA. They worked on seed development, crop improvement and also agro-based dealership. 

In today’s, African Nations are doing great in their farming because of much help from AGRA. Though some difficulties existed in between, but progress is outstanding.   



Reference :


IR Insights

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