At least fifty years of projects aimed at the rural poor in Africa have had very little impact. Up to half of the children of these countries are still suffering from stunting and malnutrition. Soil degradation and poor crop yields are ubiquitous. Projects are almost always aimed at helping local people to solve their problems by growing for the market. In some countries, projects link poor villagers into cooperatives to produce a commercial output. In other countries, projects target more competent entrepreneurial villagers. Almost all these projects fail after several years. Even those that are successful make few inroads into the problems.
While the slogan 'feeding the farmers first' comes from the Philippines, it is particularly applicable to much of Africa, where household food security can come from household production. This book explains how projects can be designed that increase food security through subsistence production. Focusing on particular people and projects, it gives a sociological analysis of why this is so difficult to manage. This book challenges the models promoted by academics in the field of development studies and argues against the strategies adopted by most donor organizations and government bodies.It explains why commercial projects have been so ubiquitous even though they rarely work. It gives practical tips on how to set up villages and farms to achieve sustainable solutions that also provide plenty of nutritious food. The book is written to be accessible and engaging. For anyone planning to work in the rural areas of Africa, this book is required reading.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
Chapter One: Food Security as a Global and African Problem
- Vignette A: Low Input Technologies
Chapter Two: The UK Paradigm and an Alternative Strategy
- Vignette B: How Much Land Do You Need?
Chapter Three: Hunger as a Fatal Strategy – A Zambian Case Study
- Vignette C: Smoothing out the Bumps in Food Security
Chapter Four: Why Do Projects Fail? What Could Work?
- Vignette D: Working for Food – Working for Money
Chapter Five: Teaching them to Fish – Entrepreneurial Ideology and Rural Projects
- Vignette E: What is a Farmer?
Chapter Six: Leading Farmer Projects and Rural Food Security, Uganda
- Vignette F: A Permaculture Design for a Ugandan Household
Chapter Seven: An Embedded Project – Chikukwa
- Vignette G: What to Eat to Avoid Diabetes and Heart Trouble
Chapter Eight: A Winning Formula – Projects that Work
- Vignette H: Composting Toilets in Africa
Chapter Nine: The Political Economy of Food Security Strategies
Terry Leahy is Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at Newcastle University, Australia.