By Kevin M. Cleaver
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Additional resources for A strategy to develop agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and a focus for the World Bank, Volumes 23-203
These include: (i) undertaking macro-economic and agricultural policy reform needed to make agriculture profitable, (ii) developing and disseminating improved agricultural technology, (iii) empowering farmers so that they can more widely participate in managing all aspects of agricultural development, (iv) developing physical and social infrastructure in rural areas, and (v) improving the management of natural resources (soil, water, forest, wildlife, and biodiversity). Increased agricultural production is needed urgently in most African countries, and this can be stimulated by policy change combined with agricultural extension.
World agricultural prices are at historically low levels, with no sign that there will be significant improvement. In part this is due to slow expected growth in world demand for most agricultural products. Low world prices will translate into relatively low prices for African farmers, and for agricultural marketing and processing enterprises. This reflects increasing competition for limited world markets. Since private enterprise is demonstrably and generally more effective at carrying on this competition, the future must include greater emphasis on the private sector.
Political and social stability are also prerequisites. Healthier and better educated people are better able to innovate in agriculture. A distinction is made between actions which can have short-term payoff in terms of expanded production, and those which will take longer to implement and which will have a longer term impact. Many policy improvements, as well as agricultural extension will have a short-term payoff, as well as a long-term impact. General health and education improvements, land tenure reform, or larger scale irrigation investments have an impact in the longer term.
A strategy to develop agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and a focus for the World Bank, Volumes 23-203 by Kevin M. Cleaver