What were the “necessary and sufficient” conditions that enabled the mid-1800’s American Agricultural Revolution and how can we replicate/update/adapt those necessary and sufficient conditions in 2015 for Africa?
Here are my answers on the “necessary and sufficient” conditions:
- Farm improvements (seed, mechanization, etc)
- Storage (grain elevators, aka storage & handling methods)
- Transportation (canals, railroads - adapted to rivers and roads today)
- Markets (grain merchants that travelled to farms, the Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. boards of trade, Liverpool grain market, Chicago Futures Markets)
- Communications (often included in “Markets” - the transcontinental telegraph, transatlantic telegraph, adapted to mobile phones, tablets, laptops, radio and television)
- Scientific Agricultural Education (adapted today to Primary School curriculum)
- Land Policy (enabling farmers to buy government-owned land inexpensively) Plus perhaps an 8th: political stability.
These are based primarily on academic literature, especially Louis Bernard Schmidt’s articles from the 1920s-1930’s, quoted by subsequent researchers in the 1940’s - 1970’s. Harvard Kennedy School Associate Professor Ryan Sheely and I are collaborating on a much more detailed journal article on this topic.
One final comment to emphasize why these “necessary and sufficient conditions” need to be adapted to local conditions: the locals know where the elephants walk at night. Never bet against local knowledge. You will lose the bet.