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

The Role and Performance of the Ministry of Agriculture in Eldoret West District
March 1, 2010 / Research Papers

Booker W. Owuor, Job O. Ogada, Colin Poulton, and Gem Argwings-Kodhek
June 2010

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy. Well managed, agriculture can be the single source that will spearhead the economy and alleviate poverty among the over 80 percent of Kenya’s population dependant on it. The sector has been fragmented into 10 ministries that all came out of a large Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) that is still seen as the parent Ministry and is viewed as the main player in the sector. This study was aimed at gaining a better understanding of how the sector is managed, and to critically examine the structure, capacity and coordination capabilities of the Ministry of Agriculture in Eldoret West District.

The Social Protection Policy in Malawi: Processes Politics and Challenges
November 2, 2009 / Research Papers

Blessings Chinsinga
September 2007

This paper is based on a study undertaken to critically understand the dynamics of policy-making and processes under the auspices of the Future Agricultures Consortium’s (FAC) sub-theme on politics and policy processes hosted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the United Kingdom. FAC’s operative philosophy is that contrary to the traditional and highly stylized perspective, policy-making does not happen in neat distinct stages except perhaps in the minimal sense that policies are proposed, legislated and implemented. Policy processes are thus a complex mesh of interactions and ramifications between a wide range of stakeholders driven, and constrained by the contexts in which they operate (cf. IDS, 2006; Oya, 2006). Understanding the policy processes therefore requires:

  1. Grasping the narratives that tell the policy stories
  2. The way positions become embedded in networks of various actors
  3. The enabling or constraining power dynamics (politics and interests)

Improving access to input & output markets
December 8, 2008 / Research Papers

By Andrew Dorward, Ephraim Chirwa and Colin Poulton
December 2008

Agriculture can play two potential roles in wider economic growth,fundamental increases in productivity and earnings) and/or multiplying and spreading the benefits of primary growth drivers through an economy. Growth drivers include exports of tradables and increased production of foods (both tradables and non-tradables). Non-tradable staple foods have particular importance in poor rural economies as they are important to the real incomes of large numbers of poor net food consumers and small scale net producers, and they tend to have high positive growth linkages and low leakages. Increased production of non-staple horticultural and livestock products for domestic consumption are important as growth supports where these are semi-tradeables or non-tradeables, but are only effective in the context of an economy benefiting from other growth drivers.

Consideration of the contributions of different types of agricultural production in the context of wider national growth processes allows the contributions of different types of smallholder agricultural development to be placed in the context of different types of economy. Three broad types ofeconomy are identified – countries with minerals, coastal countries without minerals, and land locked countries without minerals. Challenges and opportunities facing the development of smallholder production of different agricultural products are also identified.

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Improving access to input & output markets
December 8, 2008 / Research Papers

Andrew Dorward, Ephraim Chirwa and Colin Poulton
December 2008

Agriculture can play two potential roles in wider economic growth,fundamental increases in productivity and earnings) and/or multiplying and spreading the benefits of primary growth drivers through an economy. Growth drivers include exports of tradables and increased production of foods (both tradables and non-tradables).Non-tradable staple foods have particular importance in poor rural economies as they are important to the real incomes of large numbers of poor net food consumers and small scale net producers, and they tend to have high positive growth linkages and low leakages. Increased production of non-staple horticultural and livestock products for domestic consumption are important as growth supports where these are semi-tradeables or non-tradeables, but are only effective in the context of an economy benefiting from other growth drivers.

Consideration of the contributions of different types of agricultural production in the context of wider national growth processes allows the contributions of different types of smallholder agricultural development to be placed in the context of different types of economy. Three broad types ofeconomy are identified – countries with minerals, coastal countries without minerals, and land locked countries without minerals. Challenges and opportunities facing the development of smallholder production of different agricultural products are also identified.

Agricultural Commercialisation in Coffee Growing Areas of Ethiopia
October 31, 2008 / Research Papers

The coffee sub-sector is very important to the Ethiopian economy – in 2005, coffee export generated 41% of foreign exchange earnings – and provides income for approximately 8 million smallholder households. Policy attention to the sector was always considerable, and its importance has been renewed in the latest Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). PASDEP puts forward a development strategy based on accelerated economic growth, part of which is hoped to be achieved via increased smallholder commercialisation and market integration.

This paper addresses commercialisation in selected coffee growing areas in Ethiopia. The objectives of the study were (i) to assess the scale of commercialisation in coffee growing areas and to detect household and farm characteristics which might explain variation in the levels of coffee commercialisation among households; and (ii) to answer two separate questions: why some sampled households didn’t take part in output markets (i.e. identify determinants of market entry) and why some households sold more products than others (i.e. determinants of market supply). Answering these questions will help to identify policy options promoting market participation and commercialisation of smallholder agriculture.

Agricultural Commercialisation in Coffee Growing Areas of Ethiopia
October 31, 2008 / Research Papers

Samuel Gebreselassie and Eva Ludi
March 2008

The coffee sub-sector is very important to the Ethiopian economy. In 2005, coffee exports generated 41% of foreign exchange earnings and provides income for approximately 8 million smallholder households. Policy attention to the sector was always considerable, and its importance has been renewed in the latest Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). PASDEP puts forward a development strategy based on accelerated economic growth, part of which is hoped to be achieved via increased smallholder commercialisation and market integration.

Getting Agricultural Moving: Role of the State in Increasing Staple Food Crop Productivity…
June 1, 2008 / Research Papers

Getting Agricultural Moving: Role of the State in Increasing Staple Food Crop Productivity with Special Reference to Coordination, Input Subsidies, Credit and Price Stabilisation

By 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:

  1. The importance of staple food crop intensification in driving and supporting pro-poor growth in poor rural areas
  2. 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.
  3. Increasing staple food crop productivity requires governments, with private sector actors, farmers and civil society, to address a number of challenges.

These are posed by specific technical constraints to productivity increases:

  • Lack of important public goods (principally infrastructure and institutions)
  • Recent dramatic increases in food and fertiliser prices; poor policy coordination
  • Lack of complementary coordination in rural service development and provision
  • The food price/ productivity tightrope
  • Un-affordability of on-farm productivity investments; and high price instability

The nature of and solutions to these challenges, and hence the nature and importance of responses to them, vary between three different types of crop – characterised as high response cereals (maize and rice), low response cereals (sorghum and millet), and roots and tubers (cassava and yams).

Narratives of Agricultural Policy in Africa: What Role for Ministries of Agriculture
March 1, 2008 / Research Papers

By Lidia Cabral and Ian Scoones
March 2006

Much policy research on African agriculture has focused more on ‘what policy’ type of questions, rather than on the processes by which policy is made and implemented (Omamo, 2004). The focus has been on ‘policy fixes’, based often on idealised models of the way things should be, rather than the way they are, or are likely to be.

The Revitalisation of Kenya Cooperative Creameries
February 1, 2008 / Research Papers

Rosemary Atieno and Karuti Kanyinga
February 2008

This paper presents a case study of politics of policy reforms in the dairy sector in Kenya with particular reference to the Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC). It is developed for the Policy Processes sub theme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC).

The sub theme recognises that that while many policy recommendations on how to get agriculture moving have been made, too often such recommendations have foundered. This has been attributed to among other things, the narrow focus on the technical dimensions of policy, with little attention paid to the political economy and the complex politics of policy making in specific contexts (FAC 2007).

Commercialisations in Agriculture
September 24, 2007 / Research Papers

By Jennifer Leavy and Colin Poulton

Accelerated growth in agriculture is seen by many as critical if the MDGs are to be met in Africa. Although there are debates about the future viability of small farms (Hazell et al. 2007), the official policies of many national governments and international development agencies accord a central role to the intensification and commercialisation of smallholder agriculture as a means of achieving poverty reduction. According to this thinking, smallholder agriculture is uniquely positioned to deliver broad-based growth in rural areas (where the vast majority of the world?s poor still live). However, others fear that strategies for commercialising agriculture will not bring benefits to the majority of rural households, either directly or (in the view of some) at all. Instead, they fear that efforts to promote a more commercial agriculture will benefit primarily large-scale farms. At best, the top minority of smallholders will be able to benefit.