In which our blogger decides not to quibble about the One Acre Fund

The philosophy behind the One Acre Fund is clearly of a piece with that of the Millennium Villages and the Malawi fertilizer subsidy programme: giving farmers seeds, fertilizers, some advice and a market outlet will do wonders for livelihoods. In a way, it’s a no-brainer: of course it will! And it seems churlish and petty and ungenerous to add the canonical “at least for a while” qualifier, and bring up sustainability and resilience and suchlike when lives are at stake, the need urgent, and the amounts of money involved relatively small. So I won’t go down that route. But I will point out, and not for the first time, that if you are going to do something like this, or this, please first have a look at the amount and uniqueness of the agrobiodiversity you may end up displacing. And I’ll also repeat, again not for the first time, that such initiatives are why we need a global early warning system for genetic erosion. It’s easy to start. All we need is a participatory online mapping platform. You can even submit data via SMS these days!

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