In Diversity There is Strength: Moving beyond the Green Revolution in Zambia

Timothy A. Wise
4 min readJul 12, 2021

Excerpted from Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food (New Press 2019), Chapter 5.

Farmers-in-training for organic, post-Green Revolution farming at Zambia’s Kasisi Agricultural Training Center.

At the Kasisi Agricultural Training Center outside Lusaka, the innovation pipeline was flowing freely, and Kasisi’s innovators had long since shifted their focus to organic agriculture. As Kasisi director Henrietta Kalinda explained, it hadn’t always been that way. The Jesuit center had been founded in 1974 to promote green revolution technologies, trying to avoid having Africa miss out on the agricultural boom. Kasisi would give young farm families plots of land and train them in the new high-input techniques, until they noticed something in the 1990s.

“We saw that they were not selling enough to pay for the inputs,” explained Kalinda. “And the land was becoming degraded — they needed to use more inputs for the same output.” Their farmers, like so many others, were running to stand still. Kasisi gradually made the shift to what Kalinda calls Sustainable Organic Agriculture. (“Organic can be unsustainable too,” she cautions.) Kasisi is now the premier sustainable agriculture training center in Zambia.

“We are finding that organic production works much better, it is much more resilient,” she added. “Farmers have done much better in erratic…

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Timothy A. Wise

Author of Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, & the Battle for the Future of Food. Advisor with Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.