Strategies for African Agriculture

July 22, 2012

The new book Strategies and Priorities for African Agriculture, Economywide Perspectives from Country Studies builds on and adds to knowledge about why Africa has enjoyed ongoing economic stability, sustained economic growth, and improved governance since 2000. With the introduction of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process in 2003 and African countries’ emphasis on agricultural growth and investment, this book is a timely analysis that explores results-driven policy objectives. Book editors Xinshen Diao, James Thurlow, Samuel Benin, and Shenggen Fan discuss how African states can reduce poverty and grow economically by connecting the dots among the various agricultural policy recommendations offered in the book.

“This is the first book to put agriculture into an economywide framework and to analyze the potential contributions of different agricultural growth options to broad economic growth and poverty reduction for African countries,” said Diao, the lead editor. The countries chosen to frame the book’s discussion are archetypal country examples based on their respective agricultural production, poverty rates, and other indicators that can help predict the continent’s necessary steps forward.

Based on ten country studies, (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), the book characterizes agriculture as a system to achieve pro-poor growth in Africa. With agricultural as a focus, staple-food crop production and livestock production will be fundamental to achieving desired results due to those sectors’ unique ability to link to poor individuals and their respective households.
These recommendations target a suitable timeline for national poverty reduction overall. “The book is published at the right time as recent increases in world food and energy prices have made agricultural growth an imperative for food security, and African governments and donors have signed up to a new food security agenda,” Diao said.

With 20 authors from IFPRI contributing to the book, the collaboration by IFPRI’s African country researchers attests to the vast team work and collaboration facilitated in the past several years. Peter Hazell, the former Director of IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance Division, initiated the debate on the role of agriculture in the early 2000s, and his effort led to the development and application of sophisticated models for agricultural growth and poverty analysis in an economy-wide framework. With IFPRI’s continued dedication to the African continent in agricultural development and poverty reduction, the book ends by keying in on the remaining challenges the continent faces as it develops its continued methodology and analysis.

For more information on IFPRI’s Country Strategy Support Programs and the African Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support (ReSAKSS), visit: