Sitting in a home office filled with stuffed animals, South Korean internet celebrity BJ MBRO alternates between taking bites of barbeque chicken and rice. He’s good humored, and he emphasizes his approval of the food by giving thumbs-up, widening his eyes, and speaking in an upbeat, rhythmic manner as if he were a parent trying to persuade a stubborn young picky eater to try the food.
That lunch turned out to be the first of many meals that left me asking questions. Since 2014, as part of my research on biotechnology and agricultural development in Ghana, I have attended dozens of development programs throughout the country. These programs—events, workshops, trainings—are impressive microcosms of so-called development efforts. They are where farmers, government officials, development practitioners, NGO program officers, and the occasional anthropologist share spaces, ideas, and meals.