A new book: “From fed by the world to food security. Accelerating agricultural development in Africa

A new book

Thirty years after starting tofocus my work on Africa, I dared publishing ideas about the reason why African agriculture is lagging behind. Together with Kofi Debrah, I wrote  “Improving African food security” (Special Volume on “Food, global market, national policies, and the international community”., SAIS Review. A Journal of International Affairs. Johns Hopkins University. Winter-Spring 2003. Vol. XXIII, no. 1. p. 153 – 170). We explain that the ‘green revolution‘  bypassed most of Africa because its natural resources, soils in particular, are so poor that valorizing the use of fertilizers was almost impossible.

The just published book “From fed by the world to food security. Accelerating agricultural development in Africa concerns a comparative analysis of agricultural development since 1960 of almost 50 African countries. Using the cereal yield growth rate, six groups of countries are distinguished. The first concerns countries with a yield growth rate equal to countries outside Africa, where farmers adopt the green revolution tools fertilizer, improved seeds and crop protection  products. The last group concern countries having even lower crop yields than in 1960.  

The study of the socio-economical and agro-ecological differences between the groups of countries have been exploited to derive policy recommendations for two target groups: African policy makers and those of foreign countries, NGOs and international organizations supporting African agricultural development. The book can be ordered at the Department Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University (The Netherlands): H. Breman, Antonius G.T. Schut, No’am G. Seligman, 2019. “From fed by the world to food security. Accelerating agricultural development in Africa”. DOI: 10.18174/498300. ISBN 978-94-6395-085-5

The book is ready to read or for download:


The book has been baptized during a symposium organized by the Department Plant Production Systems of the Wageningen University. My presentation had as title “Fertilizer for Peace!”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) organized a meeting for getting the book known among staff members. The presentation was entitled “Can Africa feed its rapidly growing population by 2050?”

Meanwhile the book is entering Africa.  Niek Thijssen, principle advisor for West-, Central- and East Africa and the Middle East for Agriterra, hands over the book to Niger’s Ministre of Agriculture.

“Michael Hailu, the DG of CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation), intervened after my Wageningen presentation. He took also care of a paragraph about the book on the CTA Blog: “Healthy soils for African food security”.

The NVAS (Netherlands Association of African Studies) interviewed me and presents the interview on their website: “About the importance of fertilizer for socio-economic development in Africa”.