We’ve been posting articles every week on the plant research being done to cure diseases, improve economies, and eliminate hunger. Sometimes, however, it’s a good idea to come back and comment on the results from some of the research being done to improve our society. Whether it is to substantiate our reasons for research or determine where we go from here, a little reflection is a vital part of the scientific process.
Dr. Alene and researchers from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) took data from the past three decades to compare the effects that maize research has had on poverty in several rural and agricultural areas of Africa. By pooling data from various surveys, and comparing the agricultural techniques used with poverty rates, Dr. Alene and his colleagues attempted to quantify the benefits that such techniques have had on these areas.
The results were very heartening: since the 1980s, when the adoption of new crop varieties took place, the rate of people lifted from poverty gradually increased to up to one million people per year.
Dr. Alene’s conclusions noted the importance of continued agricultural research with vital staple crops like maize, and suggested ways in which agricultural research may be improved.
Discussion Question: What other reasons may be given for the reduction of poverty in these areas? How much do agricultural improvements impact the reduction of poverty?
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