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Assessing the Impact of Cowpea and Sorghum Research and Extension in Northern Cameroon


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  • Sterns, James A.
  • Bernsten, Richard H.


Throughout Africa, per capita food production has been declining since the early 1960s. Cameroon has sought to counter this trend by increasing agricultural productivity through research and extension. In order to establish future investment priorities, policy makers need to know if past agricultural research investments have earned sufficient returns to justify continued funding. Further, national experiences need to be compared to see if returns varied across programs, and in cases where they did, explanations need to be sought to discover why these variations exist. To address these issues, data were collected in Cameroon and analyzed in order to estimate the benefits and costs of investments in sorghum and cowpea research and extension in northern Cameroon. Specific data that were needed to construct benefit and cost streams included the following: yields of traditional and introduced technologies, area harvested, adoption rates of technological innovations, prices of both inputs and outputs, climatic factors influencing both the research agenda and the returns to this research, and the costs of research and extension efforts. Focusing on the period 1979-87, the analysis addressed three questions: What were the returns to past investments? What factors explained the estimated returns and any variability in returns between the sorghum and cowpea programs? And how did institutions influence these returns and the distribution of their benefits?

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Food Security International Development Working Papers with number 54727.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:ags:midiwp:54727

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Related research

Keywords: food security; food policy; cowpea; sorghum; Crop Production/Industries; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies; Downloads July 2008 - June 2009: 17; Q16;

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Cited by:
  1. Boughton, Duncan & Crawford, Eric W. & Howard, Julie A. & Oehmke, James F. & Shaffer, James D. & Staatz, John M., 1995. "A Strategic Approach to Agricultural Research Program Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54702, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  2. Maredia, Mywish K. & Byerlee, Derek & Pee, Peter, 2000. "Impacts of food crop improvement research: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 531-559, October.
  3. Boughton, Duncan & Crawford, Eric W. & Howard, Julie A. & Oehmke, James F. & Shaffer, James D. & Staatz, John M., 1996. "Une approche stratégique pour la planification du programme de recherche agricole en Afrique sub-saharienne," Food Security International Development Policy Syntheses 11384, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.


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