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Friday, June 10, 2011


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So why is it the US fault the seed do not get to the farmers. Do not the African counties have a role to play?

This article has pointed out that it's often difficult to spread agricultural innovations, such as a new seed variety, even after they've come through an arduous process of creation and improvement in the lab. I'd like to know more about why the bean hasn't been adopted by more farmers. If farmers at Lucas Malupi's market are indeed anxious to plant the beans when they see them, they could simply get some from his harvest and plant them in their fields. So maybe they're "telling us what they need" by not using the new variety. I wonder if perhaps there's a downside to this variety, like lack of drought tolerance or photoperiodism (which would allow farmers to plant with the first rains and get a decent harvest at season's end, no matter how early or late those first rains arrive). If it is simply a matter of distribution problems, it seems to me that the logical prescription would be improved public extension services, which are what supplied US farmers with improved seeds during much of our most prosperous years of farming (from the early 1900s to the 1980s or so). Private seed companies can have a role to play in getting improved seed out to the masses, but they can't and shouldn't be the lynchpin of any national seed policy. Anyway, I'd love to hear more about this particular variety, any shortcomings it might have, and what measures Mr. Otsyula and the Gates Foundation are taking to get the seed to farmers (and what farmers really think of it).

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