Kofi Annan, former UN General Secretary and now Chairperson of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa has been described by a section of the European media as unfit for the job. It is argued that in his place, Norman Bourlag, the 93 year old Nobel Peace Prize laureate would do a better job. Bourlag is credited for having crossbred thousands of wheat varieties from around the world to produce variations resistant to rust, consequently raising crop yields by 20-40 per cent.
Indeed it is true that Bourlag was quite instrumental in directly revolutionizing the agricultural sector. It is also true that human resource should not be mis-allocated. However, being an expert does not essentially qualify one to be an effective leader. Most likely, Annan was not appointed due to his agricultural proficiency but rather due to his international visibility and integrity. Having interacted with various world leaders as UN General Secretary, he holds a better chance to initiate dialogue with various stakeholders and African leaders with a view of attaining food security.
Annan should thus use his new position to make farmers move away from the subsistent mentality to business minded approaches to farming. On the other hand, he should rally innovators, academia, researchers, think-tanks, policy makers, business people and investors to tap into the huge economic potential in Africa’s agriculture.
Comment on this article!