Understanding the agricultural input landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most growth-inducing and poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really?

A recent World Bank policy research working paper revisits Africa's agricultural input landscape, exploiting the unique, recently collected, nationally representative, agriculturally intensive, and cross-country comparable Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture covering six countries in the region (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda). The study uses data from more than 22,000 households and 62,000 plots to investigate a range of commonly held conceptions about modern input use in Africa, distilling the most striking and important findings into 10 key takeaway descriptive results.

Read the paper by Megan Sheahan and Christopher B. Barrett to know more.

 
 

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Ed Keturakis
October 01, 2014

The study's conclusions seem to confirm every commonly held conception about input use in Africa ...at least those that I hold.