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African Re-Agrarianization? Accumulation or Pro-Poor Agricultural Growth?

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Abstract

Recent signs of increasing agricultural production in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are by some commentators connected to local level differentiation. This paper discusses such interpretations using household level longitudinal data from smallholder households in eight African countries for the period during 2002–2008. The use of a mixed methods social science approach complements traditional economic approaches through adding a spatial perspective. Pro-poor agricultural growth so far is concentrated to particular villages, where it is highly inclusive. The policy challenge remains to devise strategies that can enhance growth also in marginal areas.

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... Agriculture contributes more than 70% in terms of labor force and over 50% of African economies GDP. In addition to natural resources such as Oil, Gold and other solid minerals, agriculture serves as the main source of foreign earnings for most African economies (Adetutu and Ajayi 2020;Djurfeldt 2013;Dorosh and Thurlow 2018;Adom and Adams 2020;Olanipekun et al. 2019). (Caruso et al. 2021;Edwards 2020;Shastri 2021) calibrated the impact of COVID-19 to the discussion of the impact of remittances on economic growth for the Central American economies, twenty-two developing economies, and India, respectively. ...
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This paper examined the nexus between economic growth and exchange rate, remittances, trade, and agricultural output based on data sourced from 1980 to 2018 for 10 selected African economies. We employed both the Dumitrescu and Hurlin time-domain Granger causality test and the Croux and Reusens frequency domain Granger causality test. Results from the time-domain test suggests that causality only exists between economic growth and both exchange rate and trade, with no significant relationship between economic growth and both remittances and agricultural output. When we employed frequency domain model in our analysis, the results suggested that there is a bi-directional temporary and permanent causality between economic growth and exchange rate, trade, agriculture, and remittances. Our results suggest the validity of both the J-Curve and Marshall–Lerner hypotheses in the studied economies. Our study offers some relevant policy implications.
... At the macro level, data show growing differentiation within the smallholder sector and increasing segmentation with respect to access to key agrarian resources (Bryceson, 2019;Jayne et al., 2014). Agricultural commercialization alongside a growing demand for land has led to increasingly unequal access to land and labour, based on for example wealth, location, generation and gender (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013, 2018Jirström et al., 2018). The generalized vulnerabilities of an agrarian existence, have in this sense been compounded particularly for the poor, by structural processes of social and economic polarization. ...
Article
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Growing urban as well as rural uncertainties in sub-Saharan Africa have increased the importance of the household and kinship relations as providers of welfare and social security. Households therefore may be increasingly stretched across space. This points to the need to analyse the interplay between socioeconomic differentiation and translocality. The article uses a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative longitudinal data for around 2500 smallholders in six African countries, with qualitative data from villages in three of these countries. Data on food transfers from rural areas suggests that translocality is increasing, but that the distributional aspects differ depending on income. Qualitative data is used to illustrate the non-economic aspects of such transfers, and the argument is made that transfers are based on social and emotional considerations, and as such are an expression of an intensified translocality that is increasingly part of life in both rural and urban Africa. This growing translocality suggests that the theoretical understanding of the household and familial relations may need to be updated.
... The agriculture sector offers a multitude of employment and income generation opportunities to most of the population, especially in rural areas [103]. Hence, agricultural growth has a direct impact on alleviating both rural and urban poverty [22] by discouraging rural migration to urban slums. Thus, greening agriculture remains crucial for greening economies by conserving natural resources, reducing environmental pollution through judicious use of agro-chemicals, and enhancing soil inherent resilience [29,5]. ...
Article
The conventional agricultural production systems are facing multiple challenges of yield plateauing, low farm profitability, energy intensiveness, unemployment, and environmental unsustainability. Hence, four production scenarios viz., integrated organic management, integrated crop management, conservation agriculture, and conventional system and three cropping system viz., maize-mustard, maize + cowpea-mustard, and pigeon pea-wheat were tested to examine their energy, carbon, and economic feasibility for the development of environmentally clean production system. The integrated crop management system recorded significantly higher system productivity (12621 kg ha⁻¹), net energy (471632 MJ ha⁻¹), and economic returns (US$ 2079 ha⁻¹). However, the integrated organic management system resulted in the highest energy productivity (0.83 kg MJ⁻¹), eco-efficiency (0.18 US$ MJ⁻¹ha⁻¹), carbon economic efficiency (2.47 US$ ha⁻¹CO2-eq), and carbon sustainability index (37.5), and the lowest greenhouse gas intensity (0.06 kg grain kg⁻¹CO2eq). Among the cropping systems, maize + cowpea-mustard produced 32.6% higher net energy and 31.1% higher energy use efficiency over the maize-mustard system, respectively. However, the pigeonpea –wheat system recorded the highest carbon economic efficiency (1.41 US$ kg⁻¹ CO2eq), and carbon sustainability index (24.4). The greenhouse gases intensity was positively (+) correlated with specific energy but negatively (-) correlated with carbon ecological efficiency, C-gain, and carbon sustainability index. Thus, the study suggested that the intensified cropping is profitable and environmentally clean systems either in integrated crop management or in integrated organic management scenarios.
... A number of previous studies on livelihood diversification and gender conducted in African region (Andersson, 2013;Andersson & Wambugu, 2011;Canagarajah et al., 2001;Dolan, 2004;Kebede et al., 2014;Simtowe, 2010;Web, 2001) have incorporated gender perspectives in their investigations, with their outcomes revealing significant gender differences. Similarly, Hudu et al. (2015) conducted study in Ghana, Owitti (2015), Gebreyesus (2016), Mulwa et al. (2017) and Albore (2018) conducted studies in Ethopia, to examine the gender differences in livelihood diversification strategies on the assumption that there are limited research efforts on the assessment of gender-based disparities in region. ...
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The lives and livelihoods of rural communities are affected by climate change in Pakistan. These impacts vary between households, localities and individuals of the same household due to a diversity of livelihood strategies and differing needs. The aim of this study, therefore, was to understand how gender may highlight vulnerability to climate change through a combination of complex and interlinked factors that results in different vulnerabilities for men and women. The study was conducted in three rain-fed localities of Pakistan’s Punjab that represented three different climatic zones namely high rainfall, mid rainfall and low rainfall. The qualitative research method was employed with the help of 30 key informant interviews (15 women, 15 men) that were undertaken to understand gender roles, responsibilities and livelihood strategies. Finding of the study revealed that there is an increased frequency and duration of extreme climatic events and natural disasters with great uncertainty about the rate of change. Women stands on the frontline of these disasters to bear its impacts but with limited and restricted access to human, financial and natural capitals, and this is driving an expanded vulnerability to climate change in study area. Overall, women were culturally and socially dependent on men in a way that increased vulnerability to climate change. It was observed that women empowerment could play an important role in building the resilience toward climate change; hence, voices of women need to be raised and heard. Women groups should be established in each community where they can come and discuss about their issues and suggest possible solutions. Overall, there is a need in improvement of livelihoods and strengthening the adaptation capacity by ensuring women’s access, control and ownership of resources. Women involvement should be considered in developing climate adaptation strategies and policies.
... In general, smallholder farmer capacity to take advantage of new market opportunities (inclusivity of processes and integration) is class specific (for example, Djurfeldt, 2012;Orr, 2000). The expansion of choice under liberalization does not always mean specific opportunities are reachable. ...
Thesis
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Numerous studies have been undertaken on the political economy of agricultural policies in developing countries. These studies have explained agricultural policies in terms of urban bias, economic reforms, and domestic politics. Recently, the emphasis has been on explanations that reference the existence of a rational-legal and patronage element within the African state. Such explanations tend to underplay the extent to which agricultural policies are devised in a context of power asymmetries between the state and international donors or financial institutions. In the Malawian context specifically, limited attention has been paid to the possibility that policies are a negotiated outcome of interactions informed by competing objectives at the state-donor interface. Accordingly, the proposed study will attempt to fill this existing gap in the literature. Malawi is currently at the center of policy debates regarding the state’s capacity to launch a uniquely African Green Revolution within a marketized and capitalist configuration. Such debates mark the continued underinvestment in agriculture on the African continent. The Malawi case, therefore, provides a unique opportunity to explore the extent to which state level efforts are either confounded or enabled by donors and international financial institutions. The specific successes and failures of the Malawi case speak to the question of how other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa might successfully address food production and food security issues. This dissertation will explore the overarching question of the role of the state and international donors in shaping agricultural and food security policies using Malawi’s farm input subsidy program as a case study. The main research methods to explore this question are qualitative, including interviews with various development stakeholders (government ministries, international development agencies, researchers from policy research and academic institutions, and civil society organizations) associated with agriculture and food policy making, and textual analysis of publications associated with them. The research specifically targets key experts in the area of agriculture and food security. The findings indicate that policies have been greatly influenced by the competing ideologies of the state and donors, with each recognizing the problem but differing on the approach and modalities for solving food insecurity in Malawi. To this extent, there has been considerable inconsistency in policies with obvious negative outcomes. More recently, there has been an aligning of policy positions towards the use of social welfare programs and commercialization in addressing food insecurity. This alignment relates to policy positions on both the FISP and the configuration of the wider agricultural sector as a whole, as manifest in the National Agricultural Policy, for example. The role of domestic politics vs. donors in policy processes has been in flux due to changes in the political and economic environment and configuration at specific junctures. The study also finds that evidence has been important in informing policy making, more importantly, finance has had significant impact in attenuating the influence of domestic politics, so that the recently proposed and implemented reforms to FISP, although connected to considerable sociopolitical pressure from various quarters, have been largely precipitated by a serious fiscal crisis on the part of the government. To this extent, the state has assumed a pragmatic approach to policy making i.e., one that is cognizant of the limitations imposed by both finance and Malawi’s very harsh, challenging, and complex context.
... Comparing data from Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, Carletto et al. (2017) found no substantial relationship between commercialization and nutritional status. An analysis of rural data from eight sub-Saharan countries showed that commercialization led to inclusive agricultural growth in some villages, but not in others (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013). Finally, a recent study in Rwanda demonstrated that the policies in place benefitted mostly the comparatively wealthy households, leaving poorer families behind (Clay & King, 2019). ...
Article
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Numerous low-income countries foster the commercialization of smallholder agriculture to achieve development outcomes and improve the lives of the rural population. The effects of commercialization policies, however, are measured using a limited set of indicators. This paper exemplifies a new approach to the study of agricultural change: analyzing commercialization effects through a local concept of the Good Life. In our case study of East Nepal, we first elicited a local concept of the Good Life through qualitative interviews and participatory photography. In the analysis, we disaggregated the data between men and women, elderly and young, farmers and laborers as well as members of different castes. Second, we applied the resulting Good Life concept to the evaluation of agricultural commercialization. Our results show that the local concept of the Good Life is multidimensional and includes both subjectively and objectively measurable dimensions. Respondents across all socio-economic groups consistently emphasized the notion of hardship (dukha) in both their Good Life concepts and their perspectives on agricultural change. Commercialization was evaluated positively predominantly because it reduced physical and financial hardship, in addition to tangible improvements in other domains. However, respondents also pointed to the limitations of commercialization in contributing to the Good Life: the ultimate reduction of hardship was associated with the prospect of non-agricultural employment. The notion of hardship elicited through the perspectives of the Good Life offers a nuanced perspective on commercialization. Including local views in analyses of agricultural change enables researchers and policy makers alike to direct their efforts to those aspects of agricultural change that are most meaningful to the local population.
... In sum, therefore, over time, (statistically significant) yield increases-that is, intensification based on staple crops (either in maize or in rice) has occurred in the four study sites, when we consider the data from the quantitative survey. As suggested by an earlier study from two of the villages specifically [25], as well as work drawing on the larger dataset [44][45][46] and other studies using a number of large-scale datasets [47] (including the Afrint dataset), the drivers behind intensification are closely linked to commercialization. Rising yields can, therefore, be seen as a response to improved market opportunities and rising prices. ...
Article
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Agricultural intensification based on smallholders is among many economists viewed as a necessary developmental path to ensure food security and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasingly, a one-sided focus on raising productivity in cereals has been questioned on environmental grounds, with the concept of sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) emerging from the natural sciences as a way of advancing environmental and social needs simultaneously. SAI approaches have, however, been criticized for being both conceptually and methodologically vague. This study combines socioeconomic survey data with remotely sensed land productivity data and qualitative data from four villages in Tanzania. By triangulating and comparing data collected through ground level surveys and ground-truthing with remote sensing data, we find that this combination of methods is capable of resolving some of the theoretical and methodological vagueness found in SAI approaches. The results show the problems of relying on only one type of data when studying sustainable agricultural intensification and indicate the poor environmental outcomes of cereal monocropping, even when social outcomes may be forthcoming. We identify land use practices that can be considered both socially and environmentally sustainable. Theoretically, we contribute to a further problematization of the SAI concept.
... At least since Lipton (1977) and Bates (1981), we have understood that agricultural policies are not driven by theory and experience, but are shaped by compelling political concerns. The technical advice may be to promote a farming revolution and focus on providing the quantity and quality of the public goods this requires, 1 Tending to take the form of output and yield improvements in particular crops or livestock products (Dietz, 2013;Dietz and Leliveld, 2014) responding to growing urban demand, in particular localities (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013) and with disproportionate involvement of relatively large smallholders (Jayne et al., 2010). ...
... However, interviews with both members and non-members suggest that there is also the risk of reduced social mobility and growing stratification, which pose a serious challenge to inclusive development. This is in line with studies suggesting that rural development is frequently not inclusive (Andersson Djurfeldt 2013, Taylor 2014). Together, they can have profound impacts on how individual members or households will be able to respond to climate change impacts. ...
Technical Report
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This is a final report for a scoping study we conducted on the relationship between microfinance, climate change and climate justice in rural Rwanda. It was supported by Opportunity International UK and internal GCRF seed funds at GCU.
... Although it has been established that the informal RNFE (e.g. Djurfeldt, 2013;Gautam & Faruqee, 2016;Rantšo, 2016), highly diversified livelihoods of rural people have yet to succeed in significantly lifting people from the poverty cycle, more information is necessary to understand the barriers and enablers in the adoption of high return RNFE strategies that is context specific to rural farm workers. Knowing this is critical for policy development for sustainable rural livelihoods, especially for rural farm workers who constitute the most vulnerable of the entire rural population (Sachikonye, 2011). ...
Article
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The capacity of agriculture to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities is exceeded by the rural populations of developing countries, and with limited opportunities available in urban centres, the rural non-farm economy (RNFE) becomes pivotal in improving rural livelihoods. Within an empowerment agenda, it is important for policy makers to understand why households enter into the RNFE. We investigated participation in the RNFE of farm worker livelihoods along with the motivation for participation in RNF employment. Moreover, we sought to determine the key barriers and enablers to the adoption of high return strategies in RNFE activities by rural farm workers in Zimbabwe. Quantitative household surveys and qualitative focus group discussions were used to investigate levels of household dependency, education and skills, income accumulation and enterprising, expenditure and household assets. Our results showed that the primary motivation for entry into the RNFE was distress-pushed diversification. Our study found that market dynamics, limited skills, education level, and lack of capital are the paralysing factors towards significant income returns from RNFE for households. This information is critical for policy development for sustainable rural livelihoods, especially for rural farm workers who constitute the most vulnerable of the entire African rural population.
... Qualitative data collection on gender relations have been carried out in these sites over several years. The villages were originally selected based on trends in the quantitative data suggesting falling poverty and growing agricultural commercialization, with the aim of an earlier project being to analyse the gender dynamics of such processes (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013). Data from two of the sites have been presented in another publication, using the pseudonymized village names of Chikantaka and Mkwezi (Andersson Djurfeldt and Hillbom, 2016). ...
... The data employed here are from the ILOSTAT key indicator series 'Employment by Sector', https://www.ilo.org/ilostat 31. This reflects the conclusions of other works that have noted indications of recent deindustrialization (see, for example, McMillan and Headey, 2014) and/or re-agrarianization in regions of the subcontinent (AnderssonDjurfeldt, 2013). While beyond the scope of this article,Lawrence (2005) reviews the theories put forward to explain the manufacturing performance in Africa over the past four decades. ...
Article
This article seeks to refocus some of the attention devoted in the past several decades to the issue of food security in sub‐Saharan Africa to the broader context of food dependency. Using panel data for 44 countries over a period of 51 years (1961–2011), the article tests several hypotheses drawn from Lewis's classical model of development characterized by ‘unlimited supplies of labour’. The model requires either rising agricultural productivity (the closed model) or imports of global market foodstuffs (the open model) to ensure the low food prices and wages required for capital accumulation. Empirical results reject a positive association between food dependency, as represented by five decades of increasing per capita grain imports, and any measurable level of economic modernization with sufficient forward momentum to spur or justify such dependency. Results suggest instead a significant correlation between increasing food dependency and separate panel time periods associated with differing trade and policy regimes. More importantly, empirical results call for a re‐evaluation of Lewis's original development model, focusing on the pivotal role of a supported food subsistence sector in creating economic possibilities for development.
... Since the LSMS-ISA data ask such information for 12 months prior to post-planting as well as between post-planting and postharvesting surveys (which is approximately six months), we converted the information in post-planting to 6 months equivalent by simply halving it, and then took the average of the post-planting and post-harvesting surveys. Labor variable is also constructed by multiplying 0.75 and 0.5 for elderly and children, respectively, following Djurfeldt (2013) that applies similar differentiations of household members. We also tested slightly different conversion factors and found that results are generally robust against different factors. ...
Article
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Agroclimatic conditions and agricultural research and development (R&D) including plant breeding activities by the public sector are some of the most significant exogenous factors in the agricultural sector. However, the effects of the interactions of these two sets of factors on agricultural productivity have not been studied widely in developing countries, despite potentially important implications on their plant breeding strategies. Using three‐waves panel data of agricultural households in Nigeria and spatial data on various agroclimatic parameters, we show that agricultural productivity and technical efficiency at the agricultural household level is significantly positively affected by the similarity of agroclimatic conditions between locations where agricultural households are located, and locations where major plant breeding institutes are located. These results hold after controlling for various socio‐economic characteristics of these households, including their physical distances to the breeding institutes. Findings are robust across parametric and non‐parametric specifications such as Data Envelopment Method, and after addressing potential endogeneity of agroclimatic similarity and agricultural inputs variables in the production function. Productivity effects due to the locations of plant breeding institutes and resulting agroclimatic similarity can be potentially sizable given Nigeria's past productivity growth speed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... The promotion of rural entrepreneurship is seen as a strategic intervention with the prospect to boost agricultural production, increase occupational diversification of the rural population, and foster employment-oriented out-migration ( Alsos et al, 2011;Yang and An, 2002). However, from the onset of the much contested Green Revolution up to the present, subsequent studies show that entrepreneurial propensity is not often exhibited by the small-farm holders (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013;Akay et al, 2012;Yesuf and Bluffstone, 2009). This is especially true for subsistence economies -social systems characterized as predominantly reliant on the self-provisioning of the community. ...
Article
Present-day development theory and practice highlight the potential of micro-entrepreneurship for poverty reduction in rural Africa. At the same time, subsequent studies show that entrepreneurial propensity is not often exhibited by subsistence farmers. Basing our analysis on a cross-section dataset from Burundi, we analyze the entrepreneurial livelihood strategies of rural households: diversifying crops, processing food for sale, supplementary wage work, and non-agricultural employment. We find that the farmers living close to subsistence level are more risk averse in their decision making and less likely to pursue these opportunities. Further, we show that risk aversion is negatively correlated to employment diversification, while there is no significant correlation for the other strategies. Employment diversification is indeed the most risk-bearing strategy that the subsistence farmers cannot afford as adverse outcomes would endanger their households’ survival. Our results also suggest that this risk effect is mitigated by the participation in formal and informal networks.
... Empirical evidence provided in the literature diverges considerably. Corral and Reardon (2001) and Liu and Lan (2015) report a negative link between acreage and diversification in Nicaragua and China and prevail hypothesis of the incentive nature of small land size pushing subsistence farmers to diversify their income; Abdulai and Delgado (1999) and Weldegebriel et al. (2015) find no effects in Ghana and Ethiopia while Abdulai and Crole-Rees (2001) and Djurfeldt (2012) find a positive association in several sub-Saharan African countries. Given the complexity of the mechanisms involved (Reardon et al., 2007), empirical disagreement might be related to different prevailing mechanism in one country as compared to another. ...
Article
Many households in developing countries allocate their productive assets among various income generating activities in order to develop a portfolio of income from occupations with different degrees of risk, expected returns and seasonal and liquidity constraints. The push and pull factors influencing diversification decisions of households are widely discussed in the literature; however, no study to date has taken into account spatial interdependence of household decisions in spite of various channels of neighborhood effects such as information flow, learning from others, social networks and agglomeration economies. This paper fills in the gap by incorporating spatial dependence in the choice model of diversification using a spatial auto-regressive probit model and an advanced Bayesian strategy to its estimation.
... This means that consumer influence on agricultural development is weaker or at least more difficult to study, as it has to occur outside formal market chains. However, in recent years the commercialisation of smallholder agriculture has been mentioned by many as a key pathway for helping rural Africans out of poverty [115,116]. If domestic African agriculture is to feed a growing urban population, consumer choice is likely to be a more important issue on the agenda in the future. ...
Article
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This study explored the social science-orientated literature on genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe and compared it with the corresponding literature on GM crops in African contexts, in order to determine the nature and extent of north-south cross-fertilisation in the literature. A total of 1625 papers on GM crops and agriculture falling within the 'social science and humanities' subject area in the Scopus abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature were analysed for major trends relating to geographical areas. More detailed analysis was performed on papers discussing African (56 papers) and European (127 papers) contexts. The analysis revealed that studies on policy and politics were common in both strands of the literature, frequently focusing on effects of the relatively restrictive European Union regulations on GM crops. There were also clear differences, however. For example, papers focusing on Africa frequently examined farm-level impacts and production, while this theme was almost non-existent in the Europe literature. It focused instead on policy impacts on trade and consumer attitudes to GM products. The lack of farm-level studies and of empirical studies in general in the European literature indicates a need for empirical research on GM crops in European farming. Social science research on GM crop production in Europe could draw lessons from the African literature.
... In the present paper we describe and analyse village level processes of economic change and their implications for the distribution of incomes and land. We revisit households in three villages in Zambia that showed signs of broad based agricultural growth in the period 2002(Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013 as expressed through a general improvement in livelihoods and increased agricultural commercialization. 2 Households in the villages were resurveyed in 2013 and qualitative field work was carried out, with the http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.08.002 0016-7185/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. ...
Article
Over the past decade pro-poor agricultural growth strategies intended to raise smallholder productivity and increase commercialization among smallholders have been put forth as the key method for addressing poverty in rural Africa. By contrast perspectives that challenge this model question the market optimism and presumptions of higher smallholder efficiency that underpin the pro-poor agricultural growth model. Little longitudinal data exists that can shed light on questions related to sustainability of growth patterns and their distributional consequences at the village level, however. This paper uses a mixed methods approach to trace growth dynamics as well as the distributional aspects of such growth in terms of access to agrarian resources and local level labour relations. Quantitative data was used to select three villages in Zambia that had experienced pro-poor agricultural growth between 2002 and 2008. These villages were re-surveyed in 2013 and supplementary qualitative data was collected. Two of the three villages showed sustainable growth patterns. While the sources of such growth as well their distributional outcomes were different in the two villages, the reasons for such differences are related to Zambian agricultural policy as well as geography.
... In sharp contrast to the attention given to crop technology during the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s (and appearing in the academic literature up until the early 1990s), the role of agriculture in rural development was largely ignored throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s in the global development community (McMichael, 2009;Scoones and Thompson, 2011). This trend shifted at the start of the millennium (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013), which can be seen in reports such as the publication Agriculture at the Crossroads: International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge (Kiers et al., 2008) commissioned by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the fact that the World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development (World Bank, 2007), was the first world development report in 25 years to be devote d to agriculture (McMichael, 2009). in perspective by studying the empirical record on GM crops and smallholders today. This section shows how GM crops, rather than being scale neutral, can be usefully understood as a continuation and reinforcement of an established crop technological trajectory that started with hybrid technology. ...
... Even so, in 1980 (the first year for which data are available), 50 % of the world's economically active population was engaged in agriculture (FAOSTAT 2015). With changes in global economic policies throughout the 1980s and 1990s, which emphasized efficient economic growth rather than investments in agricultural research for social development, education and infrastructure declined in many countries, both high and low-income (Wallace 1997;Atchoarena and Gasperini 2003;Djurfeldt 2013). Employment in agricultural fields, however, has remained foundational to the livelihoods of much of the global population. ...
Article
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Agriculture plays a key role in national economies and individual livelihoods in many developing countries, and yet agriculture as a field of study and an occupation remain under-emphasized in many educational systems. In addition, working in agriculture is often perceived as being less desirable than other fields, and not a viable or compelling option for students who have received a post-secondary education. This article explores the historical and contemporary perceptions of agriculture as a field of study and an occupation globally, and applies themes from the literature to analyze primary data from focus groups with international students studying for university degrees in the United States. The article analyzes students’ perceptions and experiences in four countries—Bangladesh, Nepal, Honduras and Haiti—in order to make recommendations about how best to address challenges and develop capacity in agricultural education and employment in low-income countries.
... Within this subjective first step, the interpretive qualitative analytical approach laid out the breadth of experience and perceptions associated with improved variety seeds, to have as complete an understanding of the field of experience as possible. Drawing on economic sociology and critical social theories, I organized ongoing thematic coding within the broad framework from substantive economics and peasant economics (Djurfeldt, 2013;Polanyi, 1944Polanyi, , 1957van der Ploeg, 2010). Within this frame, I identified codes related to experiences of different seed systems, motivations for engaging with a specific seed system, and the social meaning of those decisions. ...
Article
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This article argues that Bourdieu’s theory of practice offers a unified epistemological foundation for mixed methods research by emphasizing the reflexive and iterative nature of knowing, and the relational aspects of knowledge construction. The increasing presence of spatial data and tools in research fields that focus on sociospatial phenomena suggests that visual representation can facilitate the resituating of objective patterns within a subjective context of geographic and symbolic space. The article presents the foundations of the theory of practice as a unifying framework for mixed methods research that incorporates spatiality. The article then offers an example of empirical research that characterizes changing seed systems in West Africa using the theory of practice to guide mixed methods research and analysis.
... In addition, it suggests that the recent dynamism in rice markets have brought more smallholder farmers into commercial production, which is also supported by the market entry coefficient in the third model, which is positive and significant at the 1 % level. Similar findings are found also for maize and cereal crops in general for the wider data set [28,53,54]. Hence, contrary to the Asian experience, the development during the first decade of the new millennium seems to have been driven more by the market than the state. ...
Article
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Background: In spite of considerable rice production gains over the past 50 years, Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming increasingly dependent on rice imports as demand is outpacing domestic supply. The serious economic and social strains caused by this have urged national leaders to address production deficits. The aim of this article is to analyse and discuss the drivers behind recent changes in rice production in Africa South of the Sahara, focusing on Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique. Considering the period 2002–2008, we model production performance and changes in production amongst 317 rice-growing households using multilevel and longitudinal data. We evaluate and discuss the role of three key processes: the role of commercial drivers, farm technology and macro-level conditions. Results: We show that until 2002, production was driven by a combination of the three key processes considered, while during the period 2002–2008, production increases were primarily associated with area expansion and commercial drivers. This suggests that production lately has been more driven by processes of extensification than inten-sification. We also note that in none of the periods considered, the share of the state budget allocated to agriculture had a significant effect on production and that recent developments do not give any obvious support for an Asian-style state-driven Green Revolution in rice in Sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusions: The role of commercialization in explaining changes in production suggests that policies strengthening food staple markets in the sub-continent hold great potential for driving rice production in the near future. Due to the scarcity of available land, the possibilities of further growth in the rice sector are limited without an intensification of production. Hence, farmers also need to access new farm technology, and positive development of rice production would in turn contribute to an improvement of food security.
... capable of accumulating capital by combining commercial farming and nonfarm activities while still relying more on commercial agriculture (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013; Barrett et al., 2001; Ellis & Freeman, 2004; Oya, 2007). ...
Article
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This article provides a comprehensive review of the literature on the nature and evolution of rural livelihood diversification in sub-Saharan Africa, and the situation regarding smallholders. It reveals mixed findings about the causes and consequences of livelihood diversification on rural smallholders adopting this strategy. A lot of evidence from the literature suggests that it is relatively better-off smallholders with sufficient assets who achieve successful livelihood diversification, mainly by exploiting opportunities and synergies between farm and nonfarm activities. Because of asset constraints, increase in incomes and wealth based on livelihood diversification has not yet benefitted the large majority of smallholders.
... Technical expertise in the form of agronomists, vets and irrigation specialists focused on bringing 'traditional' farmers into the twentieth century. Now, in the early twentieth century, agricultural growth and improved productivity are again prominent as policy priorities, now characterised as 'pro-poor agricultural growth' (Djurfeldt 2013). The current Department for International Development-Economic and Social Research Council (DFID-ESRC) Growth Research Programme (DEGRP) is predicated on the view that economic growth and modernisation are key priorities (Wiggins 2013). ...
Article
Quantitative and quasi-experimental methods have become popular in the evaluation of development impact. In response, several commentators have argued for more effective use of ‘mixed methods’. This paper engages with, and builds upon, this current criticism of more quantitatively based impact evaluation from the disciplinary perspective of anthropology. Focusing on one specific evaluation, of an irrigation project in Malawi, it asks what was missed and what was misunderstood in the quantitative focus that was adopted. The paper then reflects on the wider question that is raised of how particular methods and perspectives can take centre stage and produce apparent ‘truths’ even in the face of evidence pointing in opposite directions. The overall argument is that this is a matter of the politics of knowledge production and of how particular disciplinary perspectives may come to dominate.
... It is acknowledged here that an important reason for the failure of the MFPP to stimulate agricultural growth through raising yields was that the programme did not support smallholders in reaching markets. Access to markets is a key factor determining whether smallholders in can in fact benefit from raised yields (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013;Poulton et al., 2010). Due to the particularly comprehensive suppression of commercial smallholder farming in South Africa historically (Bundy, 1988), supporting smallholders to reach and compete on agricultural markets might be even more important here than elsewhere in the region. ...
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Despite much policy attention to agricultural development in South Africa, efforts since democratisation have failed to raise smallholder engagement in agriculture and to break the trend of persistent rural poverty. This paper presents results from a study of the Massive Food Production Programme (MFPP) in three villages in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The MFPP aimed to reduce poverty by raising maize yields. Following a trend of introducing maize varieties developed for large scale farming, the MFPP introduced hybrid and genetically modified maize varieties suited to high-input farming environments. These varieties did not perform well under smallholder conditions. In particular, they were highly sensitive to local storage conditions. Furthermore the restrictions on saving and sharing seed associated with new genetically modified varieties were resented locally. The results show how farming was most important for the poorest households who depended on it for their food security. While these households were in most need of agricultural support, they were also the least supported by the programme. Support with fencing, cattle traction, and locally attuned agricultural advice, which was not prioritised in the MFPP, would have been beneficial across wealth groups. Such support could, in contrast to the MFPP, lead to sustained and positive impact on smallholder livelihoods. In contrast, the strong emphasis on raising yields in the programme did not prove to have the desired effects on poverty.
... Numerous other studies reveal similar results, but emphasize the important qualification that the degree to which agricultural growth reduces poverty is usually conditional upon the initial distribution of assets (in particular land) and the initial level of inequality (Bourgignon and Morrison, 1998;Timmer, 2003;De Janvry and Saddoulet, 2000;Andersson-Djurfeldt, 2013). Lipton and Longhurst (1989) and Hazell and Ramasamy (1991) provide similar evidence. ...
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The role of agriculture in economic development remains much debated. This paper takes an empirical perspective and focuses on the relationships between agriculture productivity and poverty reduction. The contribution of agriculture sector to poverty is shown to depend on its own growth performance, its indirect impact on growth in other sectors, the extent to which poor people participate in the sector, and the size of the sector in the overall economy. Bringing together these different effects and taking into consideration the role played by technological innovation, we use an aggregate annual panel data, on asamplecomposed of 32Sub-SaharanAfrica (SSA) countries, from 1990-2011 to estimate a simultaneous equation model that capture the interrelationship between agriculture productivity, technological innovation and poverty. Findings show first that agricultural productivity contributes significantly to economic growth and poverty in SSA. Second, technological innovation appears to have a positive and significant impact on poverty through its direct and indirect impact through agriculture productivity and growth
... The intersection between dynamics of 'real markets' (regardless of their relative degrees of formality) and agrarian change places social differentiation in the countryside at the centre of analysis in agrarian political economy. To be sure, it has become more common recently to acknowledge the 'heterogeneity' and 'differentiation' of small farmers (Vorley et al., 2012;Jayne et al., 2003;Wiggins, 2009;Andersson-Djurfeldt, 2013;, sometimes together with a recognition that many or most of them are not able to prosper in the conditions of today's 'real markets'. For example, in a paper arguing for a viable future for small-scale farming in SSA, Wiggins (2009, pp. ...
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The paper distinguishes different approaches to markets in, and affecting, rural sub-Saharan Africa, and present some associated policies, notably ‘market-friendly’ and ‘market-challenging’. We then propose a political economy approach as a more satisfactory way of grasping the complex social dynamics of ‘real markets’ and their forms of unequal power. This is illustrated in relation to the class differentiation of ‘small farmers’ and its effects for rural ‘livelihood diversification'.
... This study further shows that the failure to connect the poor is not solely attributable to the private operators, and identifies disincentives to providing individual network connections to poor households on the part of the municipality, the private concessionaires and poor households. Djurfeldt (2012) examines African re-agrarianisation by using household level longitudinal data from smallholder households in eight African countries for the period during 2002-2008. The result concludes that pro-poor agricultural growth is concentrated in particular villages, where it is highly inclusive. ...
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... more recently, shift in direction of agrarian change towards commercial and large-scale agriculture (Djurfeldt, 2013;Deininger et al., 2010), suggest that participation is likely to be available to only a few producers well-endowed to quickly 'step up' to formal markets. This is of particular concern in the case of sub-Saharan Africa when contrasted with the fact that nearly 27 percent of the population is classified as hungry (FAO, 2012) despite considerable growth in agriculture and in national economies over the last decade. ...
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... Technology use (irrigation, seed fertilizer technology and extension) need to be coupled with commercialization to realize their income earning potential, with collinearity between seed fertilizer technology and irrigation in the full model obscuring some of these dynamics. 11 As suggested by earlier work on maize production () and agricultural growth processes more generally (Andersson Djurfeldt, 2013), the effects of commercialization on cash income are strong, at least for grains, non-food crops and animal husbandry. These effects however are largely undifferentiated by sex of head of household, suggesting that markets may be less segmented by gender than is often assumed. ...
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Effective policy requires an accurate understanding of peoples’ livelihoods activities. The data for this evidence is often generated via lengthy surveys where designated respondents provide information about their household members. This burden on respondents may lead to both losses and biases as they grow fatigued during the interview. We test these hypotheses with an experiment in rural Ghana where we randomize individual household members’ position in the labor module. We find that moving a household member back by one position reduces their reported number of productive activities by 2.2% with average aggregate losses of 7.9%, or approximately one out of every twelve activities. Losses for women and youth are closer to one in nine. These biases result from both differential exposure to response fatigue (being positioned later in rosters) and differential vulnerability (greater impacts conditional on position). These results have important implications for data quality across many settings and topics.
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Smallholder-based, sustainable, agricultural intensification is increasingly put forth as a development pathway that is necessary to improve farmer's livelihoods, enhance productivity and engender a surplus that can be used to feed growing urban areas across sub-Saharan Africa. The following article examines trends in yields for Africa's largest staple crop – maize – among smallholder farmers in six regions in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, using longitudinal quantitative data collected in 2008, 2013 and 2017 in combination with qualitative data from nine villages. Substantial increases in yields are found only in Zambia, while yields are largely stagnant in Malawi and Tanzania. In the case of Zambia, however, there is a persistent gender-based yield gap. We use the qualitative data to explain this gap and find that gender-based differences in yields need to be understood in relation to local production systems, as well as the varied positionality of women, where the biases facing women who head their own households are different than for women living in male headed households. In policy terms, technologies that can promote intensification are different depending on these factors, even within the local context of particular farming systems.
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There are high hopes that livelihood diversification could contribute to goals of poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study uses household panel data collected in 2008 and 2013, combined with a mixed methodology to examine the regional and gender disparities, as well as the determinants of change in livelihood diversification in the agricultural regions of Nyeri and Kakamega in rural Kenya. The study period was characterised by important structural changes in the composition and sources of household cash incomes, with farm incomes declining significantly, pushing female headed households into absolute poverty. Whereas the contribution of nonfarm income to total household cash incomes increased significantly, especially in Kakamega. The econometric results show that there is a positive and significant relationship between changes in household asset wealth and changes in livelihood diversification at the regional level, implying that diversification is mainly an accumulation strategy for wealthier farm households. In addition, changes in livelihood diversification are significantly correlated with the initial level of diversification, household demographic characteristics such as age, gender, education level, and hiring labour. Furthermore, increased access to agricultural input credit and more secure land rights seem to promote specialisation in farming rather than diversification. Whereas poverty has a negative and significant effect on change in livelihood diversification. The results have implications for development policy in rural Kenya – highlighting the need to harness the positive aspects of livelihood diversification for poverty reduction, while reducing the negative effects on poorer households by reducing asset entry barriers into remunerative activities.
Chapter
The term ‘green economy’ is defined in several ways; and there could be confusion in what exactly it means. For green economy implementation, it is important to have full understanding of the green economy concept and its principles and other terms and concepts that are linked to it. This chapter highlights the origins, definitions, and principles of the green economy and its meaning in different cultural, political, and socio-economic settings. Agriculture is a key sector for a green economy and is the focus of this book. It is important to recognise the attributes that make agriculture particularly relevant to a green economy. Furthermore, since some agricultural practices are incompatible with green economy principles, the incompatibilities need to be analysed to get a balanced view of the place of agriculture in a green economy. The chapter ends by attempting to resolve potential confusion between green economy implementation in the agriculture sector and related concepts such as green agriculture, sustainable agriculture, conservation agriculture and climate smart agriculture; by showing how these different terms are distinct from and related to each other.
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Improved female control over land is often put forth as a means of raising the productivity of smallholder agriculture, enhancing female bargaining power and raising women's incomes. The article uses some quantitative but primarily qualitative data on access to income and decision making, to analyse gender patterns related to welfare, incomes and control over resources in a context where women's rights to land are particularly strong, that is in a matrilineal and uxorilocal setting. Women's land rights are contextualized in relation to labour intensive, low productive smallholder systems and the paper assesses to what extent female control over land affects welfare outcomes, decision making and intra-household control over incomes and labour. While we find that female control over land does affect intra household relations it is clear that land reform is not enough to ensure gender equality. For any land use policy reform to have a profound affect it would have to also take into account control over other productive resources, e.g. labour, as well as the wider institutional and political context.
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This paper examines the effects of regional euro-currency integration on agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. We utilize a propensity score matching estimator to estimate the treatment effect of Sub-Saharan African countries joining regional euro-currency integration on agricultural value-added. Our parameter estimates reveal that regional euro-currency integration membership has positive effects on agricultural value-added. This suggests that as an institutional arrangement, regional currency union membership can improve agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is an important component of achieving economic growth that is effective in reducing poverty.
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Several important themes emerged from our workshop discussions that are developed by the contributors in the essays below. First, these researchers raise provocative questions about the positionality of researchers and how our respective locations within different structures of power may shape our investigations of African politics in the field. Mosime challenges us to think about the possibility of indigenizing field research in Africa and asks pointed questions about the politics of who studies what questions in the field.
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The past decade has seen several African countries increasing their agricultural growth, a trend largely underpinned by increases in land area cultivated instead of productivity increases. Meanwhile, scholars debate whether Africa should pursue a strategy of large-scale or smallholder farms, paying little attention to a special group of smallholder farmers who have transitioned to become medium- and large-scale farmers. This study, therefore, begins to analyze this group of farmers, using qualitative data from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions in Ghana. We analyze their characteristics, ingredients of farm-size expansion, and commercialization. Numerous insights are gained and hypotheses formulated for future research. One important insight is that with the right attitude, exposure, and discipline, it is possible for smallholder farmers to increase their farm size and commercialize regardless of initial farm enterprise choice. However, to transition, initial farm size and farming system appear critical, with farmers in areas of low population density and flat topography more likely to acquire larger farming land. The transition, however, occurs gradually over 20 to 30 years, with mean annual land acquisition rates ranging from 0.3 to 24.3 acres per year. In the transition process, large- and medium-scale farmers are found to increase their use of modern farm inputs (such as fertilizer and high-yielding seed varieties) and agricultural technologies (such as tractors and processing machinery) and appear more productive than smallholder farmers. Additional quantitative analyses using representative survey data are, however, needed to substantiate the observed qualitative patterns and to further understand the trajectories of farm size expansion and the implications for agricultural productivity and commercialization.
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Small urban settlements or small towns in rural areas represent the fastest urban 10 growth in most of the African continent. Along with a renewed political interest in African agriculture, the role of urban settlements has gained a prominent position in poverty reduction in rural areas and as an alternative to out-migration. Based on data collected between 2010 and 2012 covering more than 60 business operators in two emerging urban centres (EUCs) and their rural hinterlands, the article explores 15 development trajectories in two EUCs in Tanzania, both of which have experienced rapid population growth and attracted new investments in business by both migrants and the indigenous population in an effort to exploit new opportunities in the centres. The initial urbanization has not been driven by the state or by new institutional interventions such as microfinance but rather by ‘the market’. This paper argues that 20 microfinance plays a role in facilitating possibilities for some businesses to sustain, expand or diversify their businesses once the business is well-established in the EUCs. Migrants play a pivotal role for the early development and later diversification of business activities within both EUCs. They have been attracted by new investment opportunities and bring capital and knowledge from previous experiences with 25 economic activities.
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The article reviews evidence on African urbanization trends and consequences of these for the smallholder sector and rural food security. Urban growth is less rapid than often assumed and consumption rather than production driven, while liberalized trade regimes have globalized food systems. Urban insecurity and rural poverty are handled through self-provisioning arrangements in both rural and urban areas, which may undermine the role of urban areas as sources of demand for rural produce. Smallholders in rural areas close to existing urban areas are likely to benefit most from growing markets for high value products. Food security must be the priority for marginal areas untouched by urbanization. The paper can be downloaded at: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1QUOI7sxZzjVIl
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This article analyses household-based food transfers as an expression of multi-local livelihoods. Transfers of maize outside the co-resident household unit are analysed on the basis of data from 2857 smallholder households across nine African countries. The study complements a growing interest in the role of food transfers for urban food security, through considering the food security implications for sending households. Food transfers in the top income quintile consist of distributing surplus production, whereas in the lower quintiles, transfers clearly compromise the food security of the sending households. The spatial mismatch between household production and consumption points to the need for development strategies that consider these wider subsistence obligations. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
This article analyses household-based food transfers as an expression of multi-local livelihoods. Transfers of maize outside the co-resident household unit are analysed on the basis of data from 2857 smallholder households across nine African countries. The study complements a growing interest in the role of food transfers for urban food security, through considering the food security implications for sending households. Food transfers in the top income quintile consist of distributing surplus production, whereas in the lower quintiles, transfers clearly compromise the food security of the sending households. The spatial mismatch between household production and consumption points to the need for development strategies that consider these wider subsistence obligations.
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The role of community based dynamics in successful agrarian development is considered through comparing two neighbouring villages in Ghana, with similar agro-ecological conditions and market access: one, Gyedi, is a religious community and the other, Apaa, is not. While the direct role of religion in promoting agrarian development is limited, interaction with extension staff in Gyedi enables farmers to avoid problems characteristic of smallholder realities in Africa in general. Skills intensive technologies and internal market co-ordination promoted by community cohesion are key explanations for diverging development trajectories. The role of tenancy arrangements in diverging trajectories, pointing to the potential challenges for pro-poor agricultural growth strategies in other settings.
Chapter
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This book investigates how the changed agricultural policy climate affected government policies in the nine countries studied already as part of the preceding project: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. By repeating the cross-sectional survey made in over 100 villages in 2002 and converting it into a panel, it is possible to trace village- and household-level effects of agricultural policies and other macro-level processes. The book consists of 14 chapters most of which revolve around studies on each of the nine case study countries.
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Agriculture's dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa's local, national and regional economies and cultures throughout pre-colonial history has been foundational to 20 th century colonial and post-colonial development. No other continent has been so closely identified with smallholder peasant farming. Nonetheless, smallholder farming has been eroding over the last three decades, perpetuating rural poverty and marginalizing remote rural areas. Donors' search for rural 'success stories' merely reinforces this fact. Certainly many farmers have voted with their feet by increasingly engaging in non-agricultural livelihoods or migrating to urban areas. In so doing, the significance of agriculture for the majority of Africa's population has altered. The World Bank has played a prominent role in shaping agricultural policy in Africa. Under structural adjustment conditionality of the 1980s, the World Bank's prescriptions became largely mandatory for the debt-ridden national economies of the continent. Its influence over a country's policies is now generally in direct inverse proportion to that country's economic strength. Thus, most African countries have to greater or lesser degrees espoused and implemented World Bank development policy for the last 25 years, and African agricultural sectors, in effect, demonstrate through continuous low growth rates and deepening rural poverty, the impact of World Bank policies.
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Executive Summary This paper argues that the state has a large potential role in increasing staple food crop productivity as a result of • The importance of staple food crop intensification in driving and supporting pro-poor growth in poor rural areas and • Intrinsic difficulties that inhibit staple food crop intensification without significant investment and coordination by the state. Active state involvement was a pervasive feature of Asian green revolutions, but the task is not easy, particularly with the varied and often difficult agro-ecological conditions in Africa, the lack of irrigation infrastructure, likely impacts of climate change, the limited human and financial resources available to governments, and the political challenges facing governments in pursuing consistent policies. Increasing staple food crop productivity requires governments, with private sector actors, farmers and civil society, to address a number of challenges. These are posed by specific technical constraints to productivity increases; lack of important public goods (principally infrastructure and institutions); recent dramatic increases in food and fertiliser prices; poor policy coordination; lack of complementary coordination in rural service development and provision; the food price/ productivity tightrope; unaffordability of on-farm productivity investments; and high price instability. The nature of and solutions to these challenges, and hence the nature and importance of responses to them, vary between three different types of crop – characterised as high response cereals (maize and rice), low response cereals (sorghum and millet), and roots and tubers (cassava and yams).
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According to data from the most recent inter-census period, some sub-Saharan African countries are now urbanizing very slowly. Actual decreases in the level of urbanization are rare, but have been recorded for Zambia (where counter-urbanization began in the 1980s) and Côte d'Ivoire and Mali (where there is evidence of counter-urbanization during the 1990s). Countries where urbanization levels are stagnating or increasing very slowly, especially when considering large and medium-sized towns, include Benin, Mozambique, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger. The East African situation is more mixed, but growth rates in many large centres are around or below the national rate. For many urban centres there is evidence of increased circular migration, which has reduced the contribution of in-migration to urban growth. These trends are largely the result of declining economic opportunities in many urban areas, refl ecting crises in urban poverty and livelihood insecurity.
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Using longitudinal data from 2354 smallholder households in 103 villages in eight African countries, three processes of agrarian transformation are analysed for the period 2002 to 2008: intensification of grain production, commercial diversification from staple crops and income diversification out of agriculture. Methodologically, three multi-level, binary logistic models are used. The trends observed provide grounds for some optimism: despite an overall picture of stagnation, intensification in grains (yield per hectare) seems to be increasing. Farmers have, however, raised productivity through the more intense use of labour resources rather than through technological change, while political commitments to agriculture have not improved the production environment. Rather, economic growth and commercialization emerge as strong drivers of intensification, both at country and household levels. Tendencies towards distress-driven income diversification out of agriculture appear to have abated somewhat in the face of more dynamism in the grain sector, with households moving between the farm and non-farm sectors in response to shifts in producer incentives and non-farm opportunities. Diversification processes within agriculture, meanwhile, point to both push- and pull-driven diversification occurring simultaneously. Grain markets, crop diversification and non-farm opportunities complement one another over time. There is little evidence of even incipient processes of structural transformation among the smallholders surveyed.
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This article considers the distributional consequences of seasonality by analysing the links between non-farm incomes, commercialisation within agriculture, and variations in consumption burdens and expenditures at the household level. The common focus in the literature on non-farm incomes as levellers of seasonality and sources of risk minimisation is complemented by perspectives which consider how seasonality affects and is handled by households depending on their broader livelihood situations. To this perspective is also added a consideration of in-kind transfers and transactions. The article uses a mixed methods approach, drawing on data from two villages in Western Kenya. The lack of non-farm sources of income and the variation over time in consumption burdens aggravate the seasonal aspects of the agricultural production cycle for poorer households. By contrast, the interaction between farm and non-farm sources of income enables wealthier households to profit from seasonality in relation to agricultural markets, while providing the basis for meeting both farm and non-farm expenditures.
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The purpose of the Africa Emerging Markets Forum is to discuss the continent’s economic and social challenges and to share ideas for better results on the ground. This article focuses on the performance and potential contribution of agricultural development, first looking at the current constraints and then setting out some suggestions for the way forward. Over the past 50 years, the normal structural decline in the share of agriculture in the economy and accompanying convergence of incomes in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, has not yet happened in sub-Saharan Africa. The economy, in terms of sector shares in total output, has been practically frozen, as has the structure of production within agriculture itself, its technology, and its mode of growth primarily via area expansion. As a consequence, African agriculture remains extremely under-capitalized, and the number of poor and hungry has increased in both the rural and urban areas. Encouraging signs for a new beginning for agriculture discussed in this article include the resumption of economic growth, the reduction in agricultural dis-protection, the end of the secular downward trend in agricultural prices, growing domestic and regional demand for food, improvements in the institutional environment for rural development, and a growing commitment of African Governments to agricultural development. While there is much talk about another structural transformation in Africa toward large scale commercial farming, there appear to be diseconomies of scale in farming, while the success rate of large scale farming has been very limited in Africa. The family farm model therefore remains an appropriate model for most of African agricultural development. To seize opportunities underlying the above-mentioned encouraging signs, sub-Saharan Africa will need to support economic growth by (a) continued sound macroeconomic policies, (b) removing of the remain-ing agricultural taxation that still disadvantages African farmers relative to all other farmers in the world, (c) improving services for small farmers, (d) significantly increasing investment in agricultural technology and its dissemination, (e) empowering local governments, communities, and farmer organizations for their own development, and (f) strengthening the already existing regional agricultural institutions. An overall conclusion emanating from this article is for individual countries to adapt and customize the above broad goals into country-specific action plans to enhance the performance and contribution of the agriculture sector, in line with the CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) compacts on which they are already working.
Book
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African policy has been showing a growing interest in promoting customary land tenure, based on the idea that the customary represents egalitarian communal arrangements. This approach ignores the fact that customary land relations have been contested throughout history, by various groups that each try to redefine what constitutes custom in a situation of change. In Ghana, land has become increasingly commoditised as a result of the growing value of real estate and the development of new commercial agricultural sectors. This has led to an intensification of attempts by chiefs, earth priests, land users, and governmental actors to redefine land ownership and tenure.The contributions to this essential volume critically examine ideas on customary land tenure in Ghana. They analyze the relations between the customary and statutory tenure and the institutional interactions between the state and traditional authorities in land administration, addressing issues of power, economic interests, transparency, accountability, conflicts and notions of social justice, equity and negotiation. They examine both past and contemporary policy issues, and present a number of case studies with implications for national and international policymakers.
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This paper reviews existing microeconomic empirical literature on gender differences in use, access, and adoption of nonland agricultural inputs in developing countries. This review focuses on four key areas: (1) technological resources, (2) natural resources, (3) human resources, and (4) social and political capital. In general, there has been more empirical research on inorganic fertilizer, seed varieties, extension services, and group membership than on tools and mechanization, life-cycle effects, and political participation. Across input areas, generally men have higher input measures than women; however, this finding is often sensitive to the use of models that control for other background factors, as well as the type of gender indicator implemented in the analysis. We find few studies that meet our inclusion criteria outside Sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, future directions, opportunities, and recommendations for microeconomic gender analysis of nonland agricultural inputs are discussed.
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This article explores the phenomenon of in-kind remittances of maize and its implications for rural household livelihoods and food consumption. Interviews with a sample of 391 households in eight villages in Malawi are used to substantiate the discussion. Explanations for in-kind remittances are sought in the micro-level interaction between the formal market realm, informalised exchange systems and the household. Remittances are not connected to lower commercialisation levels, suggesting that the explanation for remittances should be sought in the production and consumption patterns of the households. Remittances function as an important redistributive mechanism for food across space. The role of smallholder food production for urban livelihoods as well as the subsistence responsibilities of rural households are underestimated if agrarian household level linkages from rural to urban areas are not recognised in national production and consumption surveys and among policy makers.
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This article reviews the recent literature on diversification as a livelihood strategy of rural households in developing countries, with particular reference to sub-Saharan Africa. Livelihood diversification is defined as the process by which rural families construct a diverse portfolio of activities and social support capabilities in order to survive and to improve their standards of living. The determinants and effects of diversification in the areas of poverty, income distribution, farm output and gender are examined. Some policy inferences are summarised. The conclusion is reached that removal of constraints to, and expansion of opportunities for, diversification are desirable policy objectives because they give individuals and households more capabilities to improve livelihood security and to raise living standards.
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This book investigates how the changed agricultural policy climate affected government policies in the nine countries studied already as part of the preceding project: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. By repeating the cross-sectional survey made in over 100 villages in 2002 and converting it into a panel, it is possible to trace village- and household-level effects of agricultural policies and other macro-level processes. The book consists of 14 chapters most of which revolve around studies on each of the nine case study countries.
Chapter
This book investigates how the changed agricultural policy climate affected government policies in the nine countries studied already as part of the preceding project: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. By repeating the cross-sectional survey made in over 100 villages in 2002 and converting it into a panel, it is possible to trace village- and household-level effects of agricultural policies and other macro-level processes. The book consists of 14 chapters most of which revolve around studies on each of the nine case study countries.
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A major challenge for agricultural policy in Africa is how to address the market instability-related causes of low farm productivity and food insecurity. This paper highlights structural changes affecting the behavior of food markets in eastern and southern Africa and discusses their implications for the design of strategies to stabilize food prices. These changes include (1) an increasing trend in maize prices toward import parity levels, reflecting an emerging structural maize deficit in much of the region; (2) increasingly diversified food consumption patterns in both rural and urban areas; (3) highly concentrated marketed maize surplus, which have largely unrecognized implications for the magnitude of price risk faced by most farm households; and (4) the strategic interactions between private and public marketing actors leading in some cases to heightened market instability and food crises. In the prevailing dual market environment now characterizing most of the region, greater coordination, transparency, and consultation between private and public market actors is needed to achieve reasonable levels of food price stability and predictability.
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Assessments of the performance of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa are typically based on official production statistics at national level. Between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s these often show alarmingly poor rates of growth. But there are good reasons to doubt the statistics and their interpretation. An alternative is to examine the record from the village level upward. This paper looks at the evidence from 26 case studies of change between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s at the district or village level. These suggest less cause for alarm than the national statistics. They confirm that access to markets is essential for agricultural development—the single biggest idea in the policy reforms of the 1980s, but they also underline the importance of the detail of policy—in remedying failures in product, capital and insurance markets and in public investment in technology.
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The subject of this article is the relationships between farm size and productivity and between farm size and profitability in the developing countries. The recent controversies over the inverse size-output relationship are reviewed, and a framework is provided that explains the inverse relationship based on plausible assumptions about imperfections in the markets for labor, land, credit and risk. From this framework, a set of testable hypotheses are derived. The hypotheses are tested on recent farm-level panel data from Pakistan. A strong inverse relationship between farm size and yield is present in the sample, even when household fixed effects are used to account for unobserved heterogeneity. Moreover, the suggested market imperfections framework is consistent with the data.
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Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia are likely to hold large numbers of very poor rural people into the foreseeable future. Although both history and theory suggest a pre-eminent role for agricultural growth in poverty reduction in poor agrarian economies, such growth today faces new difficulties. Many of these difficulties are endogenous to today’s poor rural areas, others result from broader processes of global change, but some are due to changes in the dominant policy environment, emphasizing liberalization and state withdrawal. Examination of 20th century Green Revolutions suggests that active state interventions were important in supporting critical stages of agricultural market development. Unfortunately such interventions’ benefits in institutional development are easily overlooked, whereas their high costs are much more visible. Policy implications are discussed.
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As the experience of the 20th century has shown, implementing policies that increase agricultural productivity among smallholders is a particularly promising strategy to achieve pro-poor growth. However, history also reveals major political challenges to adopting this strategy. The paper compares the experience of Asian countries that were able to launch a smallholder-based Green Revolution with the experience of African countries that are still struggling with this goal. It then reviews the political economy literature to identify the factors that account for these divergent experiences. Finally, the paper develops a conceptual framework to guide empirical research to close the knowledge gaps identified by the review.
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While smallholder development has, in the past, led to reductions in poverty and hunger, does this still apply in today’s more globalized world? This paper reviews the debates on the contemporary role of agriculture in development and the case for small farms in light of the rise of supermarkets, lower commodity prices and liberalized trade, agricultural research funding, environmental change, HIV/AIDS, and changing policy ideas. Although the answers vary greatly by context, for many low-income countries, smallholder development remains a key option. The policy agenda, however, has changed. In addition to providing public goods, the growing challenge is to overcome market failures, which is largely a matter of institutional innovation.
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Virtually all models of the household have the minimal implication that the equilibrium allocation of resources is Pareto efficient. Within many African households, agricultural production is simultaneously carried out on many plots controlled by different members of the household. Pareto efficiency implies that variable factors should be allocated efficiently across these plots. This paper provides a simple test of this weak implication of household models using an extremely detailed agronomic panel data set from Burkina Faso. I find that plots controlled by women have significantly lower yields than similar plots within the household planted with the same crop in the same year, but controlled by men. The yield differential is attributable to significantly higher labor and fertilizer inputs per acre on plots controlled by men. These results contradict the Pareto efficiency of resource allocation within the household. Production function estimates imply that about six percent of output is lost due to the misallocation of variable factors across plots within the household. The paper concludes with suggestions for a new model of intra-household allocations consistent with the empirical results.