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Ask Slashdot: How To Feed Africa? 592

gbrumfiel writes "Africa has some of the poorest soil of anywhere on the earth, and over farming is only making matters worse. As the population grows, governments and NGOs must decide whether to subsidize chemical fertilizers like those used in the west or promote more sustainable agricultural practices. In Malawi, the government has decided to subsidize fertilizers, with impressive results. Corn yields have tripled since the subsidies were introduced. More sustainable practices, such as fertilizer trees can't deliver those kind of results in just a few years. The question is simple: does Africa follow the same, unsustainable road as the rest of the world? Or do they become a testing ground for potentially game-changing new techniques? OR is there a third path? Discuss."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead