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Cereal Technology Interventions for the West African Semi-Arid Tropics


  • Nagy, Joseph G.
  • Sanders, J. H.
  • Ohm, H. W.


One of the regions of most concern in Sub-Saharan Africa is the geographical area of the West African semi-arid tropics (WASAT) where there has been little impact from the green revolution and most of the region suffers from inadequate and irregular rainfall and low fertility soils. Decreasing per-capita food production trends and 2-3% per-year population growth trends have convinced some to adopt a Malthusian perspective about the future of the WASAT. This paper evaluates the prospects of agricultural technologies and farm management practices that are currently proposed for the WASAT cereal farming system. The technologies are assessed with respect to their agronomic and economic feasibility, risk and their fit within the farming systems. They are ranked as to their feasibility of adoption by farmers in the short, intermediate and long run. The findings suggest that several agricultural technologies are feasible for use in the short run provided that they are used as a package. The complexity and initial high financial and human capital requirements, however, often prohibit farmers from adopting the total package simultaneously. A stepwise approach to adoption is difficult since separate adoption results in lower profitability and higher risk levels. Government policy intervention may be necessary to enable farmers to adopt single technologies en route to total package adoption.

Suggested Citation

  • Nagy, Joseph G. & Sanders, J. H. & Ohm, H. W., 1988. "Cereal Technology Interventions for the West African Semi-Arid Tropics," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 2(3), November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaaeaj:172103

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paulino, Leonardo A. & Mellor, John W., 1984. "The food situation in developing countries : Two decades in review," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 291-303, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mcmillan, Della E. & Sanders, John H. & Koenig, Dolores & Akwabi-Ameyaw, Kofi & Painter, Thomas M., 1998. "New Land is not enough: Agricultural performance of New Lands settlement in West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 187-211, February.
    2. Sanders, John H. & Ramaswamy, Sunder & Shapiro, Barry I., 1997. "Technology Development for Semi-Arid Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory, Performance and Constraints," Occasional Paper Series No. 7 198203, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Adesina, Akinwumi A. & Sanders, John H., 1991. "Peasant farmer behavior and cereal technologies: Stochastic programming analysis in Niger," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(1), January.
    4. Shapiro, B. I. & Sanders, J. H., 1998. "Fertilizer use in semiarid West Africa: Profitability and supporting policy," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 467-482, April.


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