DEVELOPMENT: 'African Agriculture Needs Green Growth'
Caution needs to be exercised in developing African food production to avoid long-term social and environmental harm, according to an ecologist credited with averting mass hunger on the continent.
Hans Herren, president of the U.S.-based Millennium Institute, says that some of the prescriptions offered for extricating Africa from its current crisis over high food prices may ultimately cause more damage than good.
Best known for developing a system of biological protection against the mealybug insect that threatened to destroy cassava production in Africa during the 1980s, Herren took issue with recommendations made by Jeffrey Sachs, the prominent economist who is one of the top advisers to the United Nations on the fight against poverty.
Whereas Sachs has been advocating that fertilisers should be provided in bulk to African farmers, Herren noted the liberal use of chemical fertilisers can cause widespread pollution.