A new report released by philanthropist Howard Buffett, grandson of legendary investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, argues that while no single solution can help lift hundreds of millions of struggling African farmers out of poverty, more attention must be paid to soil conditions on the African continent, the Associated Press reports.
According to Buffett, a keynote speaker at this week's World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines — an event established by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, known as "the father of the Green Revolution" — aid groups must acknowledge the complexity of combating hunger in Africa by adopting a variety of approaches, including cheap, soil-focused solutions such as the use of cover crops and no-till techniques.
While Buffett acknowledged that his ideas are likely to meet with resistance from those who believe the best way to help poor farmers is by teaching them Western agricultural techniques that utilize fertilizer, hybrid seeds, irrigation, and other technology, he believes those approaches are not always viable in poor countries.
"A 'Green Revolution' really won't work for the majority of African farmers," said Buffett, referring to the kind of high-tech agricultural techniques that Borlaug pioneered. "We need a brown revolution [that focuses on soil types]. We need to change the debate about how to help African farmers."