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Cash cropping and food crop productivity: synergies or trade-offs?

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  • Govereh, Jones
  • Jayne, T. S.

Abstract

The case for promoting export-oriented cash crops in Africa has generally been based on their direct potential contribution to agricultural productivity and small farmer incomes. A relatively neglected avenue of research concerns the synergistic effects that cash cropping can have on other household activities, including food production. The conventional view that cash crops compete with food crops for land and labour neglects the potential for cash crop schemes to make available inputs on credit, management training, and other resources that can contribute to food crop productivity, which might otherwise not be accessible to farmers if they did not participate in cash crop programs. This article builds on previous research by hypothesising key pathways by which cash crops may affect food crop activities and empirically measuring these effects using the case of cotton in Gokwe North District in Zimbabwe. Analysis is based on instrumental variable analysis of survey data on 430 rural households in 1996. Results indicate that_.after controlling for household assets, education and locational differences-households engaging intensively in cotton production obtain higher grain yields than non-cotton and marginal cotton producers. We also find evidence of regional spill-over effects whereby commercialisation schemes induce second round investments in a particular area that provide benefits to all farmers in that region, regardless of whether they engage in that commercialisation scheme. The study suggests that the potential spill-over benefits for food crops through participation in cash crop programs are important to consider in the development of strategies designed to intensify African food crop production. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Suggested Citation

  • Govereh, Jones & Jayne, T. S., 2003. "Cash cropping and food crop productivity: synergies or trade-offs?," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 39-50, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:28:y:2003:i:1:p:39-50
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    1. Colin Poulton & Andrew Dorward & Jonathan Kydd, 1998. "The revival of smallholder cash crops in Africa: public and private roles in the provision of finance," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 85-103.
    2. Kherallah, Mylène & Delgado, Christopher L. & Gabre-Madhin, Eleni Z. & Minot, Nicholas & Johnson, Michael, 2002. "Reforming agricultural markets in Africa," Food policy statements 38, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Kelley, Valerie A. & Diagana, Bocar N. & Reardon, Thomas & Gaye, Matar & Crawford, Eric W., 1996. "Cash Crop and Foodgrain Productivity in Senegal: Historical View, New Survey Evidence, and Policy Implications," Food Security International Development Policy Syntheses 11459, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. C. Peter Timmer, 1997. "Farmers and Markets: The Political Economy of New Paradigms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 621-627.
    5. Goetz, Stephan J, 1993. "Interlinked Markets and the Cash Crop-Food Crop Debate in Land-Abundant Tropical Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 343-361, January.
    6. Putterman, Louis, 1995. "Economic reform and smallholder agriculture in Tanzania: A discussion of recent market liberalization, road rehabilitation, and technology dissemination efforts," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 311-326, February.
    7. Kherallah, Mylene & Delgado, Christopher L. & Gabre-Madhin, Eleni Z. & Minot, Nicholas & Johnson, Mi (ed.), 2002. "Reforming agricultural markets in Africa: Achievements and challenges," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 0-8018-7145-X.
    8. Jayne, T. S. & Jones, Stephen, 1997. "Food marketing and pricing policy in Eastern and Southern Africa: A survey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1505-1527, September.
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