On the Institutional Details that Mediate the Impact of Cash Crops on Food Crop Intensification: The Case of Cotton
The surge in basic food commodity prices in 2007/08 and again in 2011, have led to a renewed focus among governments and donors on agricultural growth, especially in staple food production in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is widely agreed that smallholder-led agricultural growth would contribute most to improved food security and reduced poverty. Yet, how to achieve broader and more sustainable access by smallholder farmers to productivity enhancing inputs for food crop production remains a largely unsolved riddle. In light of the great institutional diversity across cotton sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa, this study investigates whether cotton market structures can be used to spur the intensification of smallholder food production. Especially, it examines how the particular institutional structure of a cotton sector might affect its ability to spur such growth in food crop intensification and productivity. With this aim, a conceptual framework linking cotton institutional structures to food crop intensification is first developed. Drawing on the literature, country experience is then reviewed and predictions from the conceptual framework are compared with empirical evidence.
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