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Ten striking facts about agricultural input use in Sub-Saharan Africa

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really? This article revisits Africa’s agricultural input landscape, exploiting the unique, recently collected, nationally representative, agriculturally intensive, and cross-country comparable Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) covering six countries in the region (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda). Using data from over 22,000 households and 62,000 agricultural plots, we offer ten potentially surprising facts about modern input use in Africa today.

No MeSH data available.


Venn diagrams of three-way input use in Ethiopia and Niger.
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f0010: Venn diagrams of three-way input use in Ethiopia and Niger.

Mentions: In order to depict graphically the decreasing level of correlation when moving from the household to plot level, Fig. 2 displays Venn diagrams reporting the full set of conditional probabilities for use of inorganic fertilizer, improved seed varieties, and irrigation—representing an interesting mix of short and potentially longer term investments and may provide the largest gains when paired—at the household and plot level in Ethiopia and Niger. The overlapping area, representative of the use of at least two of the three inputs, is relatively small at the household and plot level. When burrowing down to the intersection of all three inputs, less than 4% of households use all three inputs in Ethiopia and less than 1% uses them together in Niger, conditional on using at least one of the three. And less than 1% of plots in either country receive all three inputs, again conditional on using one input. This implies that the small minority of households that are using multiple modern inputs tend to spread them across plots rather than concentrating them on single plots. This behavior has gone largely unstudied to date and raises important questions about prospective untapped productivity gains from coordinated modern inputs use, with implications for extension programs and policies aimed at promoting efficient input uptake and use.


Ten striking facts about agricultural input use in Sub-Saharan Africa
Venn diagrams of three-way input use in Ethiopia and Niger.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384438&req=5

f0010: Venn diagrams of three-way input use in Ethiopia and Niger.
Mentions: In order to depict graphically the decreasing level of correlation when moving from the household to plot level, Fig. 2 displays Venn diagrams reporting the full set of conditional probabilities for use of inorganic fertilizer, improved seed varieties, and irrigation—representing an interesting mix of short and potentially longer term investments and may provide the largest gains when paired—at the household and plot level in Ethiopia and Niger. The overlapping area, representative of the use of at least two of the three inputs, is relatively small at the household and plot level. When burrowing down to the intersection of all three inputs, less than 4% of households use all three inputs in Ethiopia and less than 1% uses them together in Niger, conditional on using at least one of the three. And less than 1% of plots in either country receive all three inputs, again conditional on using one input. This implies that the small minority of households that are using multiple modern inputs tend to spread them across plots rather than concentrating them on single plots. This behavior has gone largely unstudied to date and raises important questions about prospective untapped productivity gains from coordinated modern inputs use, with implications for extension programs and policies aimed at promoting efficient input uptake and use.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really? This article revisits Africa’s agricultural input landscape, exploiting the unique, recently collected, nationally representative, agriculturally intensive, and cross-country comparable Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) covering six countries in the region (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda). Using data from over 22,000 households and 62,000 agricultural plots, we offer ten potentially surprising facts about modern input use in Africa today.

No MeSH data available.