Culture

When ‘expert advice’ is the problem

“We have copied ideas and skills that work elsewhere and brought them to our part of the world. We teach the local people different styles and dissuade them the life styles that have withstood the test of times.

We teach people that local foods are not good for nutrition and after some time we come back to back the same crops and plants that we despised.

In the past my mother and father used to mix several crops and the agriculture extension workers came and criticized them. they called them retrogressive and backward.

Maize field in Malawai @ African Farming and food processing

My parents changed to do mono-cropping and even got the awards of master farmers. But alas, this has not stayed for a long time.

Now there is food insecurity in my home that used to be food secure.

And the advice now is we should be growing different types of crops similar to what my mother and dad used to! In this case who is a real professional!”

Melton’s comment which he made in reaction to my blog post: “Food and Nutrition Policy and Culture” published here on my website in October 2014 remains valid. And even though he was writing about Malawi, his comment holds true also for Uganda.

Particularly so when mono-cropping is promoted for the growing of commercialized food crops, such as maize, Epurpur Sorghum, and others that are contributing to land and resources being diverted away from growing ‘home food’ to growing food for the market.

And so, Melton’s comment prompted me to flip through Johan Pottier’s book: “Anthropology of Food – The Social Dynamics of Food Security.” Of which Section 8 of the book is titled: “Attractive Simplicity? The Shape of Modern Agricultural Research and Policy,” and in in which Pottier promises:

“Erroneous policy assumptions will be exposed; they must be put right if the gap between farmers and policy-makers is to narrow.”

Johan Pottier

Let me go and read. Will revert back with a review blog post.

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