Occasionally I receive email telling me my position on agriculture is completely bonkers. Theres simply no way, the naysayers write, to increase crop yields in the Third World. Those people must know something the Food and Agricultural Organization doesnt.
The FAO is currently sponsoring several food security projects throughout the world, and recently wrote up a short release about its project in Eritrea.
From 1961 to 1991 Eritrea hosted a civil war which, as the FAO puts it, “almost destroyed the country.” Working with about 140 farmers, an FAO project managed to show farmers how to use hybrid seeds, moderate amounts of fertilizer and good crop management skills to double their yields.
Eritrea is still a long way from food self-sufficiency, producing only about 40 percent of the food it actually consumes, but the solution is not to throw up our hands and say “Impossible!” but instead to do as the FAO is doing and show people in places like Eritrea how they can bring their crop yields closer to the rest of the worlds.