Is Africa’s Dependence on Agriculture the Cause of Poverty in the Continent? An Empirical Review

  • Citation: Oluwatayo, Isaac B., and Ayodeji O. Ojo. “Is Africa’s Dependence on Agriculture the Cause of Poverty in the Continent?: An Empirical Review.” The Journal of Developing Areas 50, no. 1 (2016): 93–102.
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • Africa
    • GDP
    • agriculture
    • poverty
    • developments

The continent of Africa is blessed with natural resources and most especially large expanse of land area suitable for agricultural production. But despite this huge deposit of untapped resources and opportunities in the continent, it is very appalling to know that many of the countries in Africa are homes to the poorest of the poor and vulnerable people across the globe. The continent is faced with multi-faceted problems of insecurity arising from the activities of violent extremists and marginalized sect, decaying infrastructural facilities exacerbated by corruption and prolonged neglect, rising youth unemployment occasioned by bad governance and inadequate planning coupled with dwindling income resulting from poor and inadequate production technologies. However, in spite of the worsening food crisis situation and constraints to agricultural transformation in Africa, agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood for most Africans (especially those residing in the rural areas) remains the economic nerve centre considering its contribution to the African economy in terms of labor employment and share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus, the task of poverty reduction in Africa portends a moving target as the number of poor and undernourished people keeps increasing. This paper therefore examined the link between agriculture and poverty in Africa. The problems and prospects of African agriculture were x-rayed, the poverty situation in Africa and the likely causes were also highlighted. The paper suggests a bottom-up (also called community-driven development) approach to policy formulation through involvement of farmers in policy discussions at both national and international levels starting from project/problem identification to evaluation. There is the need for partnerships between government and private sector in the area of input and infrastructure provision. This is very important considering the fact that government alone can no longer shoulder the responsibility of providing and maintaining infrastructures due to declining revenue. Farm level processing and value addition should be encouraged by government through the provision of enabling environment and farmers should endeavour to join and participate in cooperative activities so as to enhance their access to credit, markets and benefit from collective bargaining power in terms of input acquisition and getting support from government and prospective funders.

Related Resources