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An Updated Look at the Recovery of Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Nin Pratt, Alejandro
  • Yu, Bingxin

Abstract

We analyze the evolution of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) over the past 40 years, looking for evidence of recent changes in growth patterns using a nonparametric Malmquist index. Our TFP estimates show a remarkable recovery in the performance of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture during between 1984 and 2003 after a long period of poor performance and decline. That recovery is the consequence of improved efficiency in production resulting from changes in the output structure and an adjustment in the use of inputs, including an overall net reduction in fertilizer use but increased fertilizer use in most of the best-performing countries. Policy changes implemented by African countries between the mid-1980s and the second half of the 1990s appear to have played an important role in improving agriculture’s performance. As TFP growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is mainly a result of catching up to the frontier, we expect growth to slow down in the coming years unless African countries accelerate the incorporation of innovations into the production process and increase agricultural R&D investment and the speed of technical change.

Suggested Citation

  • Nin Pratt, Alejandro & Yu, Bingxin, 2009. "An Updated Look at the Recovery of Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51731, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51731
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    Cited by:

    1. Breisinger, Clemens & van Rheenen, Teunis & Ringler, Claudia & Nin Pratt, Alejandro & Minot, Nicholas & Aragon, Catherine & Yu, Bingxin & Ecker, Olivier & Zhu, Tingju, 2010. "Food security and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 985, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. 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).
    3. L. Christiaensen, 2009. "Revisiting the Global Food Architecture. Lessons from the 2008 Food Crisis," Review of Business and Economic Literature, Intersentia, vol. 54(3), pages 345-362, September.
    4. Yu, Bingxin & Nin Pratt, Alejandro, 2011. "Agricultural Productivity and Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 105400, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Ulimwengu, John & Sanyal, Prabuddha, 2011. "Using a spatial growth model to provide evidence of agricultural spillovers between countries in the NEPAD CAADP Framework:," IFPRI discussion papers 1069, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Steven Block, 2014. "The Decline and Rise of Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa since 1961," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume IV: Sustainable Growth, pages 13-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Derek Headey & Mohammad Alauddin & D.S. Prasada Rao, 2010. "Explaining agricultural productivity growth: an international perspective," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(1), pages 1-14, January.
    8. Arega D. Alene, 2010. "Productivity growth and the effects of R&D in African agriculture," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(3-4), pages 223-238, May.
    9. Ferede, Tadele & Gebreegziabher, Zenebe & Mekonnen, Alemu & Guta, Fantu & Levin, Jörgen & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2013. "Biofuels, Economic Growth, and the External Sector in Ethiopia: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," Discussion Papers dp-13-08-efd, Resources For the Future.
    10. Christiaensen, Luc & Demery, Lionel & Kuhl, Jesper, 2011. "The (evolving) role of agriculture in poverty reduction--An empirical perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 239-254, November.
    11. Mugera, Amin W. & Ojede, Andrew, 2011. "Agricultural Productivity Growth in Africa: Is Efficiency Catching-up or Lagging Behind?," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100687, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    12. Nin-Pratt, Alejandro & Johnson, Michael E. & Yu, Bingxin, 2012. "Improved performance of agriculture in Africa South of the Sahara: Taking off or bouncing back?," IFPRI discussion papers 1224, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Liebenberg, Frikkie & Pardey, Philip G., 2012. "A long-run view of South African agricultural production and productivity," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 7(1), October.
    14. Ulimwengu, John M. & Badibanga, Thaddée, 2012. "The sophistication and diversification of the African agricultural sector: A product space approach," IFPRI discussion papers 1156, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Quantification of yield gaps in different planting types of sugarcane in Maharashtra, 2013. "Balasaheb, Deokate Tai," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2013-011, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    16. World Bank, 2013. "Burkina Faso : What is Driving Cotton Production, Stochastic Frontier Approach for Panel Data," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15989, The World Bank.
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      [NIGER: Investir pour la prospérité - Evaluation de la pauvreté au Niger]
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    18. Badiane, Ousmane & Odjo, Sunday & Ulimwengu, John, 2011. "Emerging policies and partnerships under CAADP: Implications for long-term growth, food security, and poverty reduction," IFPRI discussion papers 1145, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    21. Majiwa, Eucabeth Bosibori Opande & Lee, Boon & Wilson, Clevo, 2015. "Multi-lateral multi-output measurement of productivity: the case of African agriculture," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212769, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; total factor productivity; Sub-Saharan Africa; Agricultural and Food Policy; Productivity Analysis; D24; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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