Greening the Grey calls for expanding the Green Revolution to the semi-arid drylands of Africa and Asia and making agriculture an effective engine for growth for smallholder farmers threatened by ‘Big Food Big Agriculture’ and globalised food chains. It narrates the pioneering efforts of the International Crop Research Centre for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the broad array of its partners working hand-in-hand with the dryland farming poor, overcoming major challenges with dedication, creativity and good cheer through ‘Science with a Human Face’. The book aims at invoking a renewed understanding and recommitment to the fundamental role of agriculture in the development process in helping to transform the grey world of dryland poverty, food insecurity and despair, into a green one of food security, health and prosperity.
William D. Dar is a world-renowned agriculture scientist who worked for 15 years as Director General of ICRISAT at Hyderabad. Earlier he served as the Secretary of Agriculture in Philippines. A man on a mission and a champion of the poor, William D. Dar is committed to alleviating the conditions of the poor living in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Arun K. Tiwari is a missile scientist turned technology manager. A pupil of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, he pioneered the development of affordable medical devices as defence technology spinoffs. A teacher and mentor for hundreds of biomedical engineers, he is committed to making India the hub for developing affordable products through the convergence of Bio-Nano-Info-Cogno technologic for the benefit of the people of the developing world.
Two thousand years ago, Seneca, the Roman philosopher, said
that a hungry person listens neither to reason nor religion, he
only wants food. History also has taught us that where hunger
rules, peace cannot prevail. This is why in 2012 the United Nations
launched the programme, Zero Hunger Challenge, aimed at
eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2025. The Zero Hunger
Challenge has the following five components: preventing stunting
in children less than 2 years of age; access to adequate food
all year round; sustainable food systems; increase in smallholder
productivity and income; and eliminating loss or waste of food.
This timely book by Dr. William Dar and Prof. Arun Tiwari
draws our attention to both, the various dimensions of the food
security challenge as well as to the possible methods of meeting
the challenge. We are now faced with the enormous task of
producing 70 per cent more food to feed 9 billion people by
2050 and 10 billion by 2080. At the same time, land and water,
the two main resources for agriculture are becoming scarce.
Scientists have to work with the possibility where human numbers
may exceed the human capacity to produce food. Compounding
the problem is the whole gamut of new challenges bunched under
the generic title of "climate change". With a 3°C rise in temperature,
agricultural production could fall by as much as 35 per cent.
Rising sea levels is posing a serious threat to coastal livelihoods
and we may have to be prepared for resettling large numbers
of "climate refugees".
It is in the above context that this book assumes great
scientific and contemporary relevance. My congratulations to Dr.
Dar and Prof. Tiwari for bringing out this timely book which
is not only important from the point of view of understanding
the scientific challenges before us but also the methods of meeting
the challenge of Zero Hunger by 2025. Dr. Dar has been the
architect of the concept, "science with a human face" and has
also promoted an Inclusive Market-Oriented Development strategy,
IMOD. I wish to record my gratitude to the authors for their
labour of love in the cause of a hunger-free world.
The Green Revolution that began in the mid-1960s transformed
agriculture in the more favoured agricultural landscapes - those
with ample water and good soils. However, hundreds of millions
of poor smallholder farmers who live in dry, impoverished areas
had almost no access to these required resources. My previous
book, Feeding the Forgotten Poor, proposed a new agricultural
revolution for our times. The new revolution would help those
forgotten poor to capitalize on the diversity and unique assets
of their own environments, for example by growing higher-value
dryland crops to serve markets in urban areas both locally and
beyond. We argued that this new revolution offers a promising
pathway to food security and prosperity.
Feeding the Forgotten Poor received an overwhelming
response. It stimulated thoughtful discussions, and I was pleased
to receive many questions and suggestions. If I could paraphrase
one of the most common comments received, it was something
like this: "You told us what needs to be done; it makes
sense and sounds very promising. But the challenges are
daunting... how can this new kind of revolution actually be
I thought that was an excellent question and deserves a
good answer. As I discussed how best to answer it, I came
to the conclusion that the answer could not be put in short, simple
"magic bullet" terms. To capitalize on diversity means understanding
the differences, as well as the similarities, between one place
and another and devising solutions that make the best use of
local conditions and opportunities. To answer the "how" question
I realized that I needed to describe real-life experiences in which
solutions are being tailored to such diverse situations. I would
also have to answer a related question that development investors
(a term we prefer to ‘donors') are very concerned about: if
diversity requires locally tuned solutions, isn't this approach too
costly? How can it be "scaled-up" to reach larger areas such
as states, nations and regions, in a cost-effective manner?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that to
answer these questions I would have to write another book.
Thus was born, Greening the Grey - an expression that I liked
very much when I first heard it from my friend Dr. Raj Paroda,
an eminent agricultural scientist. While there is no exact
classification for what defines a land as green it surely goes
beyond just planting some crops. It includes sustainable livelihoods,
mitigation of environmental impact on people living there, basic
amenities like safe drinking water and sanitation, renewable energy
generation and recycling initiatives.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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