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Estimating overall returns to international agricultural research in Africa through benefit‐cost analysis: a “best‐evidence” approach

Mywish Maredia and David Raitzer

Agricultural Economics, 2010, vol. 41, issue 1, 81-100

Abstract: This study offers a “best evidence” approach to summarizing recent benefit‐cost analyses of international agricultural research in Africa. First, from an extensive literature review and the resulting global inventory of impact studies, 23 studies are identified that calculate aggregate rates of return for Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and partner investments in Sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA). These studies are then appraised against a review framework consisting of principles, criteria, and indicators for study rigor. Subsequently, the economic benefits reported by studies grouped on the basis of its analytical rigor are aggregated and set against total investment by the CGIAR and national agricultural research systems to determine if the total investment to date can be justified by documented benefits under a range of assumptions. As a result, the study finds that aggregate investment is justified under a fairly wide range of suppositions. Under all scenarios, the vast majority of documented benefits stem from a relatively limited array of activities with a majority of benefits stemming from biological control (80%). Close to 20% of total benefits result from crop genetic improvement, and less than 1% result from all other activities. The implications of these results for research investment strategies in SSA and impact assessment are discussed.

Date: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:41:y:2010:i:1:p:81-100