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Toward a green revolution in Africa: what would it achieve, and what would it require?

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  • Xinshen Diao
  • Derek Headey
  • Michael Johnson

Abstract

The current global food crisis has reemphasized the costliness of Africa's failure to achieve food security and poverty reduction. The instrument by which other more successful developing countries achieved these outcomes was a “Green Revolution” in agriculture. While previous research has provided largely discursive appraisals of the viability of an African Green Revolution, this article adopts a more rigorous methodology to address that question. First, an economy‐wide multimarket model, augmented with existing poverty–growth elasticities, is developed to assess the likely impacts of a rapid acceleration in food production (of the kind witnessed in previous Green Revolutions) on food prices, consumption and demand, farmer revenue, and poverty. Our results suggest that a rapid growth in staple production, together with more integrated regional markets, would reduce food prices by roughly 20–40% for consumers and 10–20% for producers among the major crops. This translates into a large rise in farm revenues, annual agricultural growth rates of 6.5% or higher, broader income growth and food security, and over 70 million Africans being lifted out of poverty. The article concludes by emphasizing the kinds of fundamental policy actions and resources that would be required for achieving these outcomes.

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  • Xinshen Diao & Derek Headey & Michael Johnson, 2008. "Toward a green revolution in Africa: what would it achieve, and what would it require?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 539-550, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:39:y:2008:i:s1:p:539-550
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-0862.2008.00358.x
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    2. Schwerhoff, Gregor & Wehkamp, Johanna, 2018. "Export tariffs combined with public investments as a forest conservation policy instrument," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 69-84.
    3. Bumb, Balu L. & Johnson, Michael E. & Fuentes, Porfirio A., 2011. "Policy options for improving regional fertilizer markets in West Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1084, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Abebaw, Degnet & Haile, Mekbib G., 2013. "The impact of cooperatives on agricultural technology adoption: Empirical evidence from Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 82-91.
    5. Headey, Derek D. & Jayne, T.S., 2014. "Adaptation to land constraints: Is Africa different?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 18-33.
    6. Steven Haggblade, 2013. "Unscrambling Africa: Regional Requirements for Achieving Food Security," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 31(2), pages 149-176, March.
    7. Qiu, Cheng & Colson, Gregory & Escalante, Cesar & Wetzstein, Michael, 2012. "Considering macroeconomic indicators in the food before fuel nexus," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2021-2028.
    8. Kijima, Yoko & Ito, Yukinori & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2012. "Assessing the Impact of Training on Lowland Rice Productivity in an African Setting: Evidence from Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1610-1618.
    9. Bachewe, Fantu N. & Berhane, Guush & Minten, Bart & Taffesse, Alemayehu S., 2018. "Agricultural Transformation in Africa? Assessing the Evidence in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 286-298.
    10. Zhang, Zibin & Lohr, Luanne & Escalante, Cesar & Wetzstein, Michael, 2010. "Food versus fuel: What do prices tell us?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 445-451, January.
    11. Benin, Samuel (ed.), 2016. "Agricultural productivity in Africa: Trends, patterns, and determinants," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 978-0-89629-881-1, Winter.
    12. Kijima, Yoko & Otsuka, Keijiro & Sserunkuuma, Dick, 2011. "An Inquiry into Constraints on a Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of NERICA Rice in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 77-86, January.
    13. Nin-Pratt, Alejandro & McBride, Linden, 2014. "Agricultural intensification in Ghana: Evaluating the optimist’s case for a Green Revolution," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 153-167.

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