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Global Development Institute

Agricultural research, technology and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

Raghav Gaiha and Shantanu Mathur

Abstract 

The objective of this study is to examine the relationships between agricultural research, technology and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), drawing upon a rich and insightful literature. African agriculture has the lowest productivity compared with other regions of the world. Huge productivity gains are possible and accrue where governments allocate the necessary resources to agricultural research and development. In SSA, however, public investment in agriculture is still far lower than needed. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates show a rise in hunger globally as well as in Africa. The deterioration has been most severe in SSA. Agricultural development has enormous potential to make a significant contribution to reducing malnutrition and associated ill health. An assessment is carried out through a review of a large number of studies. These examined the factors determining adoption of innovative agricultural technology; their benefits and the underlying mechanisms; sustainability of the benefits; empowerment of women farmers and child nutrition; and the prospects of youth employment in agriculture and elsewhere. A case is then made for greater investment in agricultural research.

Keywords 

Agricultural research, technology, production and diet diversity, nutrition, Sub-Saharan Africa

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