The relevance of connecting sustainable agricultural development with African philosophy

Published in: South African Journal of Philosophy
Volume 38, issue 3, 2019 , pages: 273–286
DOI: 10.1080/02580136.2019.1648124
Author(s): Birgit K. BoogaardKuwona – Research, Education & Illustrations, The Netherlands


Our global food system is complex and philosophers can – or should – pose critical questions about it. One question that deserves particular attention is Western interference in agricultural development in Africa. To today, the Western scientific paradigm forms the basis for mainstream agricultural research and development – with a firm belief in technological solutions and economic progress. It is concerning that African philosophy is a largely unknown field among agricultural scientists and practitioners. The aim of this philosophical essay is therefore to explore the relevance of connecting sustainable agricultural development with African philosophy. The article explores Eurocentric thinking in agricultural research and development and why such thinking can be problematic. In a search for ways to respond to Eurocentrism, I follow Kimmerle, who engaged in intercultural dialogues between African and Western philosophies. Mutually respectful and transformative dialogues can lead to mutual understanding and a more equal relation between Africa and the West, in the sense that this relation becomes more open to African philosophies and less Eurocentric.

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