Agricultural growth offers a potentially powerful tool for spearheading broad-based poverty reduction in Africa. In a continent where 70 percent of the poor work in agriculture, an upsurge in farm productivity contributes directly to broad increases in rural income. In addition, a prosperous agriculture generates powerful growth linkages to the rest of the economy, providing cheap food, raw materials, and a growing demand for nascent processing and service industries. Even the urban poor, who spend the majority of their income on food, see their real incomes rise when growing agricultural productivity and output enable reductions in staple food prices. Consequently, growing agricultural productivity attacks poverty from three different directions. It increases the productivity and incomes of the majority of Africa’s poor, who work primarily in agriculture. It reduces food prices, which govern real incomes and poverty in urban areas, and generates important spill-overs to the rest of the economy.
Lessons for the Future
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)