Monday, November 30, 2009

Agricultural developments bring 2.3 million out of poverty each year

A new study brings us very good news about the impact on agricultural research. Farming investment in sub-Saharan Africa brings around 2.3 million of the region's residents out of poverty each year.

Innovation and technology can do a lot, but the reports authors say that other developments are needed. Improvements in access to credit, and access to the same fertilizer and seeds that the Western World uses can help bring more people in Sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty.

From the Walta Information Center, we read more about the study on how agricultural research can help.

The study, authored by Drs. Arega Alene and Ousmane Coulibaly of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), finds that payoffs from agricultural research are impressive with an estimated aggregate rate of return of 55 per cent.

However, the researchers say that the actual impacts are not large enough to offset the poverty-increasing effects of population growth and environmental degradation in the region.

The study which has been published in the Food Policy journal further demonstrates that doubling investments in agricultural research and development in SSA from the current $650 million will reduce poverty by two percentage point annually.

“However, this would not be realized without a more efficient extension, credit, and input supply systems,” says Alene.

The researchers also established that agricultural research had contributed significantly to productivity growth in SSA. Highest returns to agricultural research were found in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ethiopia, and were attributable to sustained national research investments with modest research capacity, long-term Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) operations, and regional technology spillovers.

International agricultural research conducted by the CGIAR contributed about 56 per cent of the total poverty reduction impact in the region.

According to the study, in view of the significant long-term research investments and demonstrated successes in the region, the poverty reduction that is due to IITA research within the CGIAR ranges from half to one million poor people annually.

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