Transforming agriculture in Africa & Asia: What are the policy priorities?
This report (PDF), by IISD and IFPRI, summarizes government policies and public investments at country level that have driven agricultural transformation in Africa, Asia and Latin America over a 45-year period between 1970 and 2015. The report is the first attempt to map the agricultural transformation path of 117 countries using an analytical framework with a global cluster analysis. The report comes with a number of key findings. The first is that the availability and fertility of agricultural land, as well as population dynamics, are core to the role of agriculture in economic transformation. It often determines whether it should push the agricultural sector as the engine for growth, or rather pull people out of agriculture into other sectors of the economy. Second, price policies play a key role in agricultural transformation for all the transformed countries. Agricultural transformation takes off when countries remove price policies that penalize agriculture. Third, public investment in research, development and extension services, electricity and irrigation are important but not sufficient for succes. The quality of these services can matter more than the quality. Fourth, land reforms, research institutions and improving access to credit are also critical. Fifth, complementarity is essential. No country succeeds without a combination of policies and public investments that complemented each other at a given juncture. Moreover, the composition of public spending matters: some countries had very low levels of spending in research and extension and too much focus on input subsidies. Finally, land reform was key in countries with unequal land distribution. Gender inequality and discrimination remain persistent and have not been adequately addressed in any of the countries reviewed. Land reform and gender equality will be central in the ongoing transformation process. Countries that must still make additional efforts can learn from the experiences of those countries that succeeded.
The project website can be found here.