Policy support for sustainable agricultural intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa: Where are we 20 years on?


April 5, 2022 - Aakanksha Melkani, <lliverp@msu.edu> and Sieglinde Snapp


This study critically reviewed policy documents and associated budgets of six sub-Saharan African countries (accounting for about 40% of Africa’s population and (gross domestic product) GDP and almost 60% of inorganic fertilizer use in the region) to gauge government’s commitment to agricultural intensification (AI) and sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) during the last two decades. This is this is the first systematic assessment of African ag policy documents in relation to Sustainable Intensification and three key findings emerge. First, we find that all study countries have consistently prioritized AI as a key policy objective over the last two decades. This commitment to AI is supported by significant resource allocation to AI programs and interventions. Second, we find that policy focus on SAI is a more recent phenomenon and resource allocation to SAI is generally low. Though all study countries demonstrate interest in some aspect of SAI by 2010, this enthusiasm is not proportionately reflected in the resources allocated to SAI. Third, we find that all countries emphasize the need for investment in agricultural research and extension, but the resource allocation varies substantially and is not always proportionate to the expressed interest in the sector. Together these findings indicate that the focus of agricultural investments in Africa remains agricultural intensification in the main with only modest sustainable agricultural intensification and that only in recent years.
Key words: Agricultural productivity, sustainable intensification, sub-Saharan Africa



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