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The African green revolution as a pro-poor policy instrument

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  • Paul Mosley

    (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Abstract

In opposition to a number of the presentations at the Conference, we argue that the development of foodcrop agriculture needs to be considered as a pivotal poverty reduction strategy in Africa-in spite of the sector's erratic performance which has seen a number of 'mini-green revolutions' take off, falter and crash back to earth. We insist that for at least five reasons-the scale-neutrality of hybrid seed technology, its labour-intensity, its tendency to reduce risks, its ability to reduce the prices of poor people's basic foods and its ability to stimulate off-farm linkages-the hybrid seed revolution, partial though it has been, needs to be supported and sustained, and not dismissed as fated to fail in African conditions. We support this conclusion by two estimates of poverty impact of these 'new' technologies-a quick and dirty estimate based on four channels of impact only (income of adopter households, labour market, consumer prices and off-farm linkages) and an estimate derived from a multi-market model of Uganda, in which about one-tenth of the poverty reduction achieved in Uganda since 1992 is ascribed to productivity change in maize and cassava. We note that a number of domestic and aid policy factors-from weak rural infrastructure and financial systems to food aid-have tended to reduce either the incentive to introduce new technologies, and|or the poverty-elasticity of their introduction. To reduce many of the different poverties from which Africa suffers, we argue, the policies responsible for the underdevelopment of its cereal crops need coordinated reform across many countries; in preparing such reform, inspiration can be taken from the policies which preceded the surge in agricultural productivity in India, Indonesia and China 30 years ago. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Mosley, 2002. "The African green revolution as a pro-poor policy instrument," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(6), pages 695-724.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:14:y:2002:i:6:p:695-724 DOI: 10.1002/jid.912
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kerr, John M. & Kolavalli, Shashi, 1999. "Impact of agricultural research on poverty alleviation: conceptual framework with illustrations from the literature," EPTD discussion papers 56, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Desai, Bhupat M. & Mellor, John W., 1993. "Institutional finance for agricultural development," Food policy reviews 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Paul Mosley & John Hudson & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Aid, Poverty Reduction and the 'New Conditionality'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages 217-243, June.
    4. Frank Ellis, 1998. "Household strategies and rural livelihood diversification," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 1-38.
    5. Knight, J B & Lenta, G, 1980. "Has Capitalism Underdeveloped the Labour Reserves of South Africa?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 42(3), pages 157-201, August.
    6. Simon Dixon & Scott McDonald & Jennifer Roberts, 2001. "AIDS and economic growth in Africa: a panel data analysis," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., pages 411-426.
    7. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1569-1614.
    8. Freebairn, Donald K., 1995. "Did the Green Revolution Concentrate Incomes? A Quantitative Study of Research Reports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 265-279, February.
    9. van Zyl, Johan & Binswanger, Hans & Thirtle, Colin, 1995. "The relationship between farm size and efficiency in South African agriculture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1548, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dorosh, Paul A. & El-Said, Moataz & Lofgren, Hans, 2003. "Technical Change, Market Incentives And Rural Incomes: A Cge Analysis Of Uganda'S Agriculture," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25846, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in water and other priorities," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(7), pages 1062-1070, July.
    3. Bezemer, Dirk & Headey, Derek, 2008. "Agriculture, Development, and Urban Bias," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1342-1364, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Paul Mosley & June Rock, 2004. "Microfinance, labour markets and poverty in Africa: a study of six institutions," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., pages 467-500.
    6. Kane, Samuel & Eicher, Carl K., 2004. "Foreign Aid And The African Farmer," Staff Papers 11602, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Fischer, Klara, 2016. "Why new crop technology is not scale-neutral—A critique of the expectations for a crop-based African Green Revolution," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 1185-1194.
    8. Ronald Ravinesh Kumar & Radika Kumar, 2012. "Exploring sectoral elasticity vis-à-vis per worker income with a focus to agriculture: a study of Sub-Saharan Africa," African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 27-48.
    9. Takahashi, Ryo & Todo, Yasuyuki & Degefa, Terefe, 2015. "The effects of a participatory approach on the adoption of agricultural technology: Focusing on the social network structure in rural Ethiopia," Studies in Agricultural Economics, Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, vol. 117(1), April.
    10. Headey, Derek D. & Jayne, T.S., 2014. "Adaptation to land constraints: Is Africa different?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 18-33.
    11. Clemens Breisinger & Xinshen Diao & James Thurlow & Ramatu M. Al Hassan, 2011. "Potential impacts of a green revolution in Africa—the case of Ghana," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 82-102, January.
    12. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Jayne, T.S., 2014. "Structural transformation or elite land capture? The growth of “emergent” farmers in Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 194-202.
    13. Paul Mosley & Abrar Suleiman, 2007. "Aid, Agriculture and Poverty in Developing Countries," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, pages 139-158.

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