The Economics of Agriculture in Africa: Notes from a Research Program

Christopher Udry
Publication Type: 
Papers
Publication Article File: 
Journal Name: 
African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Journal Volume: 
Forthcoming
Publication Year: 
2012

This paper addresses three apparent trends in African agriculture. The first shows that over the past 40 years, agricultural yields have been remarkably low and slow growing in Africa: output growth has been a consequence of the extension of agriculture onto new land, rather than any increase in yields. The second shows that labor productivity in African agriculture has grown at a very slow rate. The third shows that the intensity of input application — irrigation, improved varieties, or fertilizer — has been similarly low and stable. These broad features of the recent past of agriculture in Africa cry out for explanation.

Region: 
Africa (Sub-Sahara)
Topic: 
Insurance
Topic: 
Agriculture
Topic: 
Randomized Evaluation
Topic: 
Consumption