Agricultural research reduces poverty in sub-Saharan Africa
A study on the impact of agricultural research on
productivity and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) shows that agricultural
research is currently reducing the number of poor people in SSA by 2.3 million
The study, authored by Drs. Arega Alene and Ousmane
Coulibaly of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), finds
that payoffs from agricultural research are impressive with an estimated
aggregate rate of return of 55%.
researchers say that the actual impacts are not large enough to offset the
poverty-increasing effects of population growth and environmental degradation
in the region.
The study which has been published in the Food Policy journal further demonstrates
that doubling investments in agricultural research and development in SSA from
the current $650 million will reduce poverty by two percentage point annually.
“However, this would not be realized without a more
efficient extension, credit, and input supply systems,” says Alene.
The researchers also established that agricultural research
had contributed significantly to productivity growth in SSA. Highest returns to
agricultural research were found in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ethiopia, and were attributable to
sustained national research investments with modest research capacity,
long-term Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) operations,
and regional technology spillovers.
International agricultural research conducted by the CGIAR
contributed about 56% of the total poverty reduction impact in the region.
According to the study, in view of the significant long-term research
investments and demonstrated successes in the region, the poverty reduction
that is due to IITA research within the CGIAR ranges from half to one million
poor people annually.
Despite the contribution of agric research and development,
the study notes that SSA also faces several constraints outside the research
system that hinder realization of potential research benefits.
These include weak extension systems, lack of efficient credit
and input supply systems, and poor infrastructural development.
Therefore, the study concludes that efforts aimed at improving
the functioning of extension, credit, and input supply systems will contribute
to achieving greater poverty reduction through agricultural research.
For more information, please contact:
Arega Alene, [email protected]
Impact Assessment Economist
Jeffrey T. Oliver, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer (International)
Godwin Atser, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer (West Africa)
IITA - Headquarters
Development / Accra / Ghana / Africa / Modernghana.com