Book-coverEver hear of farming systems research, training and visit, participatory rural appraisal? If so, chances are you’re a veteran of the 1970s and 80s era war on food insecurity then blitzing across the African continent. This war had no generals, shock troops, enfilades, pincer movements, or Maginot line to defend. No hearts and minds to spar over. As Henk J.W. Mutsaers tells it, the battle was played out in the rarefied confines of elite international research centers, extension bunkers, and donor silos, edging off into the tactical embrace of consultants and purveyors of development aid armed with infectious goodwill and an appetite for money. Its Waterloo moment came in the late 1990s when the patience of the World Bank, IMF, and bilateral and philanthropic entities had been tried enough to cut the cord and move on. Now, as ever, Africa’s production of cereal grains places at the bottom of global rankings and food deficits in many countries are still endemic. What went wrong? Continue reading