Record Display for the EPA National Library Catalog


OLS Field Name OLS Field Data
Main Title Peasants, Farmers And Scientists A Chronicle of Tropical Agricultural Science in the Twentieth Century / [electronic resource] :
Author Mutsaers, H. J. W.
Publisher Springer Netherlands,
Year Published 2007
Call Number S1-S972
ISBN 9781402061660
Subjects Life sciences. ; Science--History. ; Agriculture. ; Botany. ; Soil conservation. ; Development Economics.
Internet Access
Description Access URL
Collation XXVIII, 608 p. online resource.
Due to license restrictions, this resource is available to EPA employees and authorized contractors only
Contents Notes
What Is Tropical Agronomy? -- A Tropical Agronomist's Education -- Old and New: The 1960s and 1970s -- Farmers Are Smarter Than You Think -- Forests, Fallows and Fields -- Farmer Skills, an Elusive Property -- Mainly Technology -- Follies and Sanity of Farming Systems Research -- The Modelling Sorcerers and Their Apprentices -- Donors, Experts and Consultants -- Can African Farming Be Improved? (And Can Agronomists Help?). This book is a critical account of tropical agricultural science and agricultural development in the twentieth century, in particular in Africa. It describes successes as well as fads and failures, from the perspective of a practitioner of more than 40 years. The emphasis is on the second half of the century, but the story frequently reaches deep into the first half of the century as well. The book's premise is that the story of tropical agricultural science and agricultural development can be told in a single volume at a more than trivial level, understandable for people of normal intelligence. It tries to uncover what real value there has been in the major areas of study (Farming Systems Research, Natural Resource Management, crop modelling, etc.) after peeling off the multiple protective layers applied by the profession. It also takes a critical look at agricultural and general development which has become inflated with hot air to the point of blowing itself apart in the early twenty first century. A wide range of topics is covered, including interesting early science from the beginning of the last century (sugarcane breeding and shifting cultivation in Indonesia, anthropological studies in German West Africa), fascinating indigenous farming practices in Africa, the history of Farming Systems Research and its offshoots, sense and nonsense of computer modelling of crop growth, and the role of development projects and consultants. The treatment is closely linked with the author's professional career, but the emphasis is on the subject matter.