Top 10 Agricultural Books to Read in 2016

Top 10 Agricultural Books to Read in 2016

The world of agriculture is filled with many publications ranging from farming manuals, to developments reports, scientific findings to working papers among others.

With this information overload, sometimes we forget that there exists a section of information that never see a lot of publicity. Some many be fictional, others based on true stories and events but nevertheless, they teach us a thing or two in the expansive field of agriculture.

Here is a list of 10 books to read in the coming months.

1. Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Tristram Stuart

Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Stuart, Tristram

Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN show that every year, roughly one third of the food produced globally ends up being wasted.  A seasoned dumpster diver, Tristram Stuart brings to fore the irony of rubbish bins in developing countries having more food than the fridges themselves. The developing countries are also not exempt from food waste especially in the food export business.  Link to the Book

2. Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization By Steven Solomon

Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon

When the Hungarian-American Nobel winner Albert Szent said “Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water”  he was right on point. Water is life and without it there’s no agriculture. But the sad fact is that close to one billion persons globally lack access to clean water with an estimation that come 2050, at least one in four people will most likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.Steven delves into water famines in the world and the politics that go with it. Link to the Book.

3. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Keppel

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel

This book came to my attention last year after reading a detailed story by Gwynn Guilford on How the global banana industry is killing the world’s favorite fruit. I have not heard a chance to read it but its one on my priority to -read list given the positive and eye opening reviews from the GoodReads community.In addition, bananas happens to be a staple fruit for many communities in Kenya. Link to the Book

 

4. Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa by  Robert Paarlberg and Jimmy Carter.

Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa by Robert Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa by Rovber Paalmberg

Biotechnology in Africa is such a controversial subject especially where Genetically Modified Organism are concerned. Robert Paarlberg argues his case on how farmers in Africa are being locked out of accessing improved and genetically modified seeds to help curb the problem of food insecurity. Link to the Book.

 

5.The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson’

I read this book way back in college as part of an environmental module of my course. It’s considered considered a landmark book in the 21st century  that marked the start of the the environmental movement globally. Published in 1962, the book documents the effects of indiscriminate use pesticides in America and the resulting environmental effects as evidenced by death of birds. It was such a game changer that it led to the banning of DDT use globally. Link to the Book.

6.Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller

We all have heard of the amazing benefits of Extra Virgin Oil or as is commonly known EVOO that is from being a beauty product to a medicinal oil. Tom a journalist with NewYorker digs deep in to the olive oil industry from ancient time to present revealing that what you think is EVOO is very far from pure virgin oil. Link to the Book.

7. The Violence of the Green Revolution by Dr. Vandana Shiva

The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics

Though the book was published close to 27 years ago, it rings true on the effects of the green revolution. For instance, Green revolution necessitated the use of water for irrigation purposes which contributed to making India and Asia food secure but has ended up depleting the underground water sources. It brings to fore how good intentions in feeding the hungry can be beneficial in the short run but utterly destructive in the long run. Link to the Book.

8. Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System by Raj Patel

Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System by Raj Patel

Our food system is so messed up. It either you are starved (Lacking food at all) or you are stuffed( with unnecessary foods) . Globesity is on the rise even in poorer countries. Raj Patel , a former development worker looks into the forces that control the food industry rendering the masses poor both in quantity and quality of the food they eat. Link to the Book.

9.The Man Who Fed the World: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger by Leon Hesser

The Man Who Fed the World: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger Hardcover – August 1, 2006 by Leon Hesser

The book details the work of  the Nobel Peace Prize Laurete Norman Bourlaug often referred to as the father of “Green Revolution”. His research into high yielding varieties coupled with modern agricultural technologies led to an increase in food production in Asia and Latin America. Link to the Book.

10. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

In this book, which is a recipient of the James Beard Award, Michael curious of where his food comes from traces four types of food through the chain and draws a link on how culture and society influence the food we eat. Link to the Book.

 

 

Bonus Read

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurrow

Last Hunger Season

I have this book gawking at me from my bookshelf and as such, i will purpose to finish it in the coming months. Roger Thurrow, a senior fellow for the Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council for Global affairs highlights the challenges farmers in developing countries face with a case study of One Acre Fund- a social enterprise that aims at lifting millions of smallholder farmers from poverty.  Link to the book.

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