Dr. Melle Leenstra is the Food Security and Economic Development advisor at the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi. Since visiting Kenya as a boy in the mid-eighties he has been inspired to work on development in Africa. He studied rural development in Wageningen and wrote a PhD dissertation on the Zambian health sector. Most importantly however, he is a son, a brother, a husband and the father of two daughters.
In 2010, Dutch policy for development cooperation was urged by experts to focus on agriculture as one of the areas where the Netherlands has an international comparative advantage. At the time, this prompted the minister in charge of development to make food security one of the spearhead themes for Dutch development cooperation to focus on. Since then this focus has been maintained.
Agricultural development programmes have too long focused on semi-subsistence smallholders in an effort to achieve food security. We have to aim instead for an agricultural sector based on medium-sized, mixed family farms that contribute to the African green revolution, sorely needed to feed the future.