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Agricultural Sector Performance and a Green Revolution in Africa: An Overview

Olu Ajakaiye and Alain de Janvry ()

Journal of African Economies, 2010, vol. 19, issue suppl_2, 3-6

Abstract: It is broadly recognised that vigorous agricultural growth is essential for African development, both in support of aggregate economic growth and a structural transformation of the economy towards industrialisation, and of poverty reduction and improved food security. For the first, this is because agriculture is a large sector, with important multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy, competitive advantage given the current state of institutional development, and is necessary to support internationally competitive labour costs for the rest of the economy due to incomplete tradability of food. For the second, this is because a vast majority of the poor are rural people who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and access to food importantly depends on local production. Yet, this achievement has largely been elusive, with Africa still to achieve a Green Revolution as other continents have done. Fundamental questions are thus: Why this has been the case? How could a Green Revolution be engineered? And what are some of the emerging opportunities and hurdles in securing success? These are the questions addressed by the papers contained in this volume. Together the papers argue that new opportunities exist to make a Green Revolution for Africa possible but that greater attention must be given to the design and testing of new approaches that correspond to the specific conditions of Africa and the corresponding development of human capacity (de Janvry and Sadoulet); that the release of profitable new technologies will be the driving force inducing the necessary institutional changes and public investments in agriculture as it did in Asia (Otsuka and Kijima); that the hurdles of adverse OECD farm policies, property rights on new biological technologies and concentration of market power in integrated value chains must be addressed and removed (Oyejide); and that adapting the Green Revolution to climate change is a huge new challenge that will require large investments to reduce vulnerability to warming and extreme weather events and to enhance farmers' capacity to respond (Hassan). Copyright The author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2010
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