Home About Browse Search

Why Africa’s New Green Revolution is failing – Maize as a commodity and anti-commodity in South Africa

Fischer, Klara (2022). Why Africa’s New Green Revolution is failing – Maize as a commodity and anti-commodity in South Africa. Geoforum. 130 , 96-104
[Research article]

[img] PDF


The South African Government has for the past two decades spent significant resources on introducing smallholders to Genetically Modified (GM) maize with the aim to make agriculture a way out of poverty. However smallholder farming continues to decline and poverty is on the rise in the country. The present paper aims to explain this failure of the government to support its smallholders by describing the intra-actions between maize, politics and technological development in South African history. Importantly maize is understood here as an agent in that its materialities are not only being impacted by, but are also having impact on the outcome of farming practices and wider political economies. The paper describes how maize, as a result of intra-action between maize biology and choices made by farmers, politicians and breeders during the colonial era and apartheid, developed in parallel as a commodity serving the settler farmers, and an anti-commodity, or escape crop, providing subsistence to marginalised smallholders. While South Africa today is a democracy that spends significant resources on improving smallholder livelihoods, recent technological development and market concentration have increased rather than decreased the gap between commodity- and anti-commodity maize. As a result new GM and hybrid maize varieties introduced to smallholders today are badly equipped to facilitate a crop led New Green Revolution.

Authors/Creators:Fischer, Klara
Title:Why Africa’s New Green Revolution is failing – Maize as a commodity and anti-commodity in South Africa
Series Name/Journal:Geoforum
Year of publishing :2022
Page range:96-104
Number of Pages:12
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
Keywords:Political ecology, More than human, Green Revolution, Africa, Multispecies
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000820442300010
ID Code:28564
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:25 Aug 2022 13:25
Metadata Last Modified:25 Aug 2022 13:31

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics