Perspectives on Agriculture
Perspectives on Agriculture - The Case for Agriculture Hubs as Platforms for Growth and Development in sub-Saharan Africa and Trade, the Efficient Use of Land and Agricultural Productivity: The Case of Costa Rica and Lessons for Africa
This Discussion Paper draws together extensive research and practical experience from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa to examine various challenges in developing strong and sustainable agricultural sectors.
Key conclusions drawn from these two perspectives include:
Prosperous agriculture requires letting go with tradition. Agriculture is an excellent example where adherence to tradition and fear of change can have deleterious consequences for the wider society. There is a social cost of transition that will require government support and may justify change – in the way Africa farms its land - to be gradual, but that does not justify keeping things as they are.
Food security is more important than food sovereignty. In some places, it is impossible to have agricultural development without allowing – even fostering – a change in the crops that are grown, away from the composition of demand, and towards the nation’s comparative advantage.
Agricultural development in Africa requires an ‘aggregation’ of capital, skills and services in the form of growth corridors and agricultural clusters or ‘agri-hubs’ which address both the distance factor and the scarcity of skills and services in a mixed commercial/ small-scale model of production.
Aggregation of agricultural activity would provide the critical mass necessary to allow skills transfer or absorption as well as specialisation and the natural development of the value chain, including non-farm job creation.