Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Rockefeller Foundation Continued Support for Agricultural Development

Throughout the years, philanthropy has played a vital role in agricultural development. Many individuals and families were instrumental in providing the resources needed for important agricultural innovations that brought prosperity to poor areas of the world. Chief among the examples of foundations supporting Ag development was the Rockefeller Foundation's commitment to the work of Dr. Norman Borlaug and what later became the Green Revolution. With the foundation's funding, the Mexican Agricultural Program was established in 1943. This institution later became CIMMYT, where most of the high-yileld wheat varieties were developed.

As agriculture makes its come back to the development agenda, foundations continue to play a very important role, especially in cash strapped countries where these type of investments are critical to many subsistence farmers.  Although the commendable work of the Gates and Melinda Foundation on agricultural development in Africa is more visible  and gets more newswires, the Rockefeller Foundation deserves a lot of credit for their recent work in the continent. Between September 2-4 of this year, the foundation was one of the supporter of the Africa Green Revolution Forum. This needed platform gave voice to many experts from different African countries and elsewhere in the world to drive "agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way". During the conference, innovative ideas on food security and ag  development were showcase and debated.

I'm glad that the foundation continues to follow its historical legacy and commitment to agricultural development. Maybe one of these experts will become the the next Dr. Norman Borlaug, only this time the grain and the continent will be different.

Enjoy this informative video the Rockefeller Foundation put together about the forum and their work in Africa.