The folly of vertical resistance

The experience with P. polysora gave us yet another lesson. Had institutional breeders attempted to solve this problem they would have used vertical resistance. This would have provided a complete control with only one cultivar, throughout all the agro-ecosystems just described. But that control would have been temporary. As a matter of historical record, this is exactly what happened (Storey, H.H., et al, 1958). There was one breeding program to cover the whole of East Africa. However, the vertical resistances failed so quickly that there was no time to issue these new lines of maize to farmers. By the time the futility of this approach was appreciated, the problem had solved itself by self-organisation, with horizontal resistance, in the manner already described. It is worth noting that this self-organisation occurred without any external control imposed by people, other than the fact that farmers kept the seed of the survivors.

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