Research Papers

 

Research

The Research Paper series reports findings to the research community. It is intended to contribute new analysis to agricultural issues in Africa and FAC publishes five to ten Research papers annually.


Latest articles

Can State Capacity for Agricultural Development be Compared Across Countries? Insights from Africa
June 29, 2011 / Research Papers

Claire Delpeuch and Colin Poulton
June 2011

Research Paper 21

Recent years have witnessed a renewed recognition both of the importance of agricultural development to growth and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa and of the important role that the state has to play in stimulating market development in rural areas (Poulton et al. 2006; World Bank 2007). However, there is an “agricultural development paradox” during the early stages of rural development in that “the need for pro-poor state services is high when state failure is profound” (Kydd 2009, p453).

This raises important questions: what are the key dimensions of state capacity for agricultural development and how can they be measured? These questions are of interest to development organisations seeking to design and to monitor the impact of “capacity building” interventions. Increasingly, researchers are also likely to be interested in comparing (changes in) state capacity across countries. This raises the question of whether the rather intangible concept of capacity can be compared in this way.

This brief presents some reflections on this question. It investigates the concept of state capacity for agricultural development in Africa (section 2), then considers both direct (section 3) and indirect (section 4) approaches for measuring state capacity for agricultural development across countries.

The Role and Performance of Ministry of Agriculture in Nyeri South District
July 13, 2010 / Research Papers

Booker Owuor, Beatrice Wambui, Gem Argwings-Kodhek and Colin Poulton
December 2009

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy with many urban, and most rural folk deriving their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture. The performance of the sector is therefore refl ected in the performance of the whole economy. Growth in the agricultural sector translates directly to the improvement in living standards of many farm families. Nyeri South District has a vibrant agricultural sector that provides the main source of livelihood for over 82% of its residents. Three commodities with varied histories – tea, coff ee and dairy – are the main agricultural enterprises. Eff ective realization of the agricultural sector’s goals in the district depends on reviving these commodities in a sustainable manner. For this to be achieved however, the structure, capacity and coordination capabilities of the agricultural sector ministries must be up to the task.

The Role and Performance of the MoA and Rural Development in Nyeri South District
July 13, 2010 / Research Papers

The Role and Performance of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nyeri South District

June 2010

The workshop was held in the CDF Hall, Othaya, Nyeri South district, on 5th February 2010. The main objectives of the workshop were to disseminate and seek validation of the main findings of research into “The Role and Performance of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development” in the district. This research was conducted during November and December 2009 and the resulting report can be downloaded from www.future-agricultures.org

Workshop Report on the Ministry of Agriculture at the District Level in Malawi
July 13, 2010 / Research Papers

FAC’s Malawi team
October 2009

This workshop was held on 23rd October 2009 at Panjira Lodge in Dedza district. The workshop brought together officials working in the agricultural sector from Thyolo, Dedza and Rumphi districts. The participants included District Agricultural Development Officers, Subject Matter Specialists from the Extension Sections including the Agricultural Extension Development Officers (AEDOs), Directors of Planning and Development, NGO Officials, Agro-dealers and farmer representatives. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS) Headquarters was represented by the Chief Economist responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).

Getting Agriculture Moving: Role of the State in Increasing Staple Food Crop Productivity
July 13, 2010 / Research Papers

Colin Poulton and Andrew Dorward
June 2008

This paper argues that the state has a large potential role in increasing staple food crop productivity as a result of

  • The importance of staple food crop intensification in driving and supporting pro-poor growth in poor rural areas and
  • Intrinsic difficulties that inhibit staple food crop intensification without significant investment and coordination by the state.

Active state involvement was a pervasive feature of Asian green revolutions, but the task is not easy, particularly with the varied and often difficult agro-ecological conditions in Africa, the lack of irrigation infrastructure, likely impacts of climate change, the limited human and financial resources available to governments, and the political challenges facing governments in pursuing consistent policies.

Reclaiming Policy Space: Lessons from Malawi’s 2005/2006 Fertiliser Subsidy Programme
May 15, 2010 / Research Papers

Blessings Chinsinga
July 2007

This paper is based on research work carried out the under auspices of the Politics and Policy Processes theme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC). It demonstrates that political context matters in agricultural development policy issues, using as illustration the case of the fertilizer subsidy programme (FSP) launched in Malawi in the 2005/2006 growing season.

The Role and Performance of the Ministry of Agriculture in Rachuonyo District
May 14, 2010 / Research Papers

Geophrey O. Sikei, Booker W. Owuor and Colin Poulton
June, 2008

A widely accepted objective of agricultural development is to achieve sustainable intensification. With many people especially in the rural areas deriving their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture, the performance of the sector is therefore reflected in the performance of the whole economy. Growth in agriculture is expected to have a greater impact on a larger section of the population than any other sector. For effective realization of the sector’s goals, the structure, capacity and coordination capabilities of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) cannot be overlooked.

The Political Economy of Ministry of Agriculture at the District Level: The Case of Rumphi District
May 14, 2010 / Research Papers

Blessings Chinsinga
March 2008

The main motivation of this research is to understand the functioning of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) at district level and beyond in a changing context shaped by political and market liberalization in which policy reforms have been greatly driven by the economic reform agenda of the IMF and World Bank (Omamo & Farrington, 2004). These reforms were designed to reduce the role government, cut back on public sector expenditures, improve balance of payments, reduce government deficits, enhance macroeconomic performance and help developing countries achieve higher economic growth rates. Referred to as structural adjustment programmes (SAPs); the key elements of policy reforms included macroeconomic restructuring, privatization of government agencies, liberalization of markets, removal of the government from the agricultural markets and elimination of subsidies. In the agricultural sector, SAPs “forced African governments to dismantle public agricultural research and extension programmes and drop whatever protection and incentive mechanisms existed for their small farmers” (UK Food Group, 2008: 9). The main goal of the SAPs was “to convert the role of the state into that of facilitator and regulator of the private sector” (Omamo and Farrington, 2004: 1). The MoAs would thus act merely as part players and not as the principal architects and drivers of agricultural policies and policy reforms.

Ministries of Agriculture: Structures, Capacity and Coordination at District Level in Malawi
May 14, 2010 / Research Papers

Blessings Chinsinga
February 2008

This study was carried out under the auspices of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) politics and policy processes sub-theme. Building on the earlier work of the sub-theme on the debates about the Ministries of Agriculture (MoAs) in developing countries, the study was intended as an entry point for grasping the functions, structures, rules, financial and human capacities of MoAs in Africa.

Democratic Politics and State Capacity Building: Ministries of Agriculture in Malawi and Kenya
May 14, 2010 / Research Papers

October 2009

Although fluctuating in intensity, debates about the role of the state remain fundamental to strategies for rural development and poverty reduction. Under structural adjustment African states were scaled back to play a minimalist public goods provider role, motivated in large part by the weakness and over-extension of the state prior to that. Whilst there is now broad recognition that a more activist, coordinating role is required to stimulate market development (World Bank, 1997, Dorward et.al. 2004), this places extra demands on the capacity of the state. Meanwhile, most African states are almost two decades into a transition to democracy. Whilst the median voter in most of these states is rural and poor, it remains unclear as to whether democratic politics can generate the incentives for the creation of “developmental” states that will serve the needs of such voters.