lhowell

Nerica: Open Source Rice to Save Lives in Africa

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2007 at 12:58 am

The seeds are a marvel, producing bountiful, aromatic rice crops resistant to drought, pests and disease. But a decade after their introduction, they have spread to only a tiny fraction of the land here in West Africa where they could help millions of farming families escape poverty.

Developed with financing from wealthy countries and private foundations, the New Rices for Africa, or Nericas, are unpatented and freely cultivable by anyone. Yet there is a severe shortage of them in a region where both the private and agricultural sectors are woefully undeveloped.

As I read this, I thought, wow…open source agriculture with the hassles of violating some patent. Yet, problems remain to achieve sustainable growth to feed little bellies.

Finding a sustainable way to supply farmers with seed, he said, “is emerging as the holy grail for agricultural development.”

If this were a business school case study, what should we do?

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