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The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 3: Endemic Hunger$

Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286370.001.0001

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6 Policy Options for African Agriculture

6 Policy Options for African Agriculture

(p.197) 6 Policy Options for African Agriculture*
The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 3: Endemic Hunger

Francis Idachaba

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the stagnation and decline of sub-Saharan Africa's agriculture. It identifies four genres of constraints: rural infrastructure, research and technology, harmful pricing policies, and institutional arrangements. It criticizes the persistent ambiguity regarding the role of the government in African agriculture, and argues that in many instances donor agencies have only succeeded in making bad situations worse. The chapter emphasizes the needs of rural households as producers-consumers as well as the need for a proper sequencing of policy interventions. To transform Africa's agriculture, a wide range of policy options are presented which focus on the need to promote the food entitlement of the rural population. It is argued that to understand the policy alternatives, a demand-side approach rather than the traditional supply-side approach is required.

Keywords:   rural infrastructure, research and technology, pricing policies, institutional arrangements, parastatal syndrome, policy options

6.1. Introduction

The dismal performance of African agriculture in the last twenty years has been well documented. This chapter reviews recent trends, examines competing paradigms on the nature of the problem and alternative policy prescriptions, and offers a more balanced agenda of policy options for African agriculture.

Recent trends in African agriculture could be summarized as follows:1

First, production growth rates have failed to keep up with population in many countries, resulting in declines in per capita production.

Second, Africa has steadily lost her share of world export trade with, for example, declines from 85.5 to 18.0 per cent for groundnuts, from 79.9 to 69.3 per cent for cocoa, and from 55.0 to 3.0 per cent for palm oil during the period from 1961–3 to 1980–2.

Third, the dependence on food imports has substantially increased. For example, Nigeria moved from being a net exporter of 300 tonnes of maize a year during 1952–5 to being a net importer of 153,246 tonnes a year during 1978–82; from an exporter of 188,234 tonnes of palm oil a year during 1958–60 and 894,455 tonnes of groundnuts a year during 1964/5–1966/7 to a large importer of vegetable oils in the 1970s.

Fourth, declining exports have resulted in worsening trade deficits and balance‐of‐payments difficulties, especially as increasingly scarce foreign exchange has to be allocated to food imports. The external account situation of sub‐Saharan Africa is grim: countries are short of foreign exchange as exports have dwindled; yet, to increase agricultural exports, they urgently need farm input imports such as machinery and farm equipment, inorganic fertilizers, and pesticides.

Fifth, soaring domestic food prices have been a major part of the general domestic inflation because of the heavy weight of food in the consumer price index.

Finally, sub‐Saharan Africa has had more than its fair share of droughts, resulting in large‐scale famines and starvation.

(p.198) Falling per capita production translates into declines in food entitlements in economies dominated by subsistence production (Sen 1985). Similarly, widespread drought and pest invasions also translate into food entitlement collapse in the affected areas.

There are competing paradigms as to the root cause of Africa's agricultural and general economic malaise and the policy prescriptions. The World Bank view (World Bank 1981) identifies drought, disorganized production caused by civil wars and strife, inadequate agricultural investments, inefficient input and output marketing systems, and harmful domestic economic policies as the principal causes.

The same document highlights three areas of domestic policy defects: first, foreign exchange rate and pricing policies which have strangulated agricultural exports and overprotected import substituting industries; second, an over‐stretched and overzealous public bureaucracy that has expanded the role of government in production and distribution beyond available resources; and third, a regime of taxes on agriculture that has drastically reduced Africa's competitiveness in world markets.

While conceding the importance of these factors, critics (IDS 1983, 1985) raise issues as to the completeness, consistency, and direct relevance to specific cases of the World Bank's analysis and conclusions. In fact, the World Bank's agenda has generated rather strong feelings and has been described as ‘economic neoliberalism… [that] is contentious analytically, disputed empirically and ultimately accepted or rejected on normative, self‐interest, and theological rather than pragmatic, public interest, and programmatic grounds’ (Allison and Green 1983: 3). There is strong disagreement not only with respect to problem diagnosis but also with respect to the policy prescriptions.2

Section 6.2 of this paper discusses the problems and constraints of African agriculture. Section 6.3 deals with the policy options. The chapter is concluded in section 6.4. Much of the empirical material and illustrations relate to Nigeria, though the policy issues discussed in this paper pertain to other sub‐Saharan countries as well.

6.2. Problems and constraints of African agriculture

Four classes of problems and constraints are identified (in order of priority) as being of crucial relevance to policy prescriptions: rural infrastructures, technology, economic policy (incentives) framework and institutional arrangements. Though of great importance, the problem of economic incentives has (p.199) recently received such extensive treatment (World Bank 1981, 1984, 1986a) that a more balanced treatment, doing justice to each of these four problem areas, is urgently required. Each of the problem areas is discussed in turn in this section.

(a) Primitive state of rural infrastructures

(i) Rural roads

Rural roads constitute perhaps the most important single factor in the physical transformation of rural areas. Poor networks of rural feeder roads have resulted in large farmgate‐retail price spreads, inflated farmgate prices of farm inputs, and greatly distorted the structure, conduct, and performance of rural markets. Heavy post‐harvest losses from ineffective evacuation of farm produce have acted as major production disincentives. Poor rural transportation facilities encourage spatial production inefficiencies as they hamper the emergence of specialized agricultural production patterns. The network of rural feeder roads to service and feed the national road and rail grid remains in a primitive state, with only about 10 per cent of total rural feeder road length being all‐season roads. As a result, transportation costs—and retail food prices—remain high on account of high time costs, spoilage, and road user charges, especially vehicle operating costs.3

The network of rural markets and market stalls is so poor as to render the implied elasticities of farmgate producer prices with respect to urban retail food prices low. Poor physical infrastructures encourage oligopolistic and oligopsonistic market structures and distributions of marketing margins (returns to risk) that are often derisively described as ‘exploitative’, ‘exorbitant’, and, sometimes, ‘unpatriotic’.

Poor rural infrastructures seriously constrain the effectiveness of other policies. Guaranteed producer price schemes hardly guarantee anything as available marketable surpluses are bought up by middlemen at discount, with the result that the benefits of the scheme flow to an unintended group of beneficiaries. The benefits of devaluation to export crop growers are seriously limited by poor infrastructures which prevent the farmer from receiving the higher export prices, farmgate. The benefits of farm input subsidies are cornered by unintended beneficiaries who buy up large quantities at subsidized prices only to sell them in fragmented markets at farmgate prices that are sometimes higher than they would have been had there been no subsidy, making farmers worse off than they would have been without government ‘assistance’. Attempts at building up national networks of on‐farm adaptive research trials are frustrated by inability to attract and retain senior experienced researchers who can put up with the infrastructural inadequacies of remote isolated stations so that achievement in this area does not go beyond the perennial recognition of the need to have such on‐farm adaptive research centres. Extension workers are unable to visit most farming communities as (p.200) these remain largely inaccessible by car and quite often by motor‐cycle, with the result that even if the village‐level extension agent is able to visit villages, however infrequently, the block supervisor or the zonal extension officer hardly visits remote villages to cross‐check and monitor the performance of the village‐level extension worker. Finally, formal credit institutions have failed to penetrate the grass roots largely because of the poor state of rural infrastructures which result in high operating costs for commercial banks, etc.

(ii) Irrigation infrastructures

Near‐total dependence on rainfed agriculture has posed the greatest threat to national food security in sub‐Saharan Africa. Domestic production has fluctuated widely, thereby hindering access to food at all times (World Bank 1986b). Sub‐Saharan African countries have not significantly increased the share of irrigated agriculture because programming has concentrated on grandiose, resource‐guzzling, large‐scale dams which are expensive to build and maintain, are demanding in management, service only a limited area of land below the dam, and benefit only a small fraction of farm families. Large‐scale irrigation projects have long gestation periods and high foreign exchange intensity: they get stalled during periods of foreign exchange squeeze. Finally, these projects involve the award of huge contracts especially as politicians (civilian or military) tend to measure achievements by the size of contracts and newsworthiness.

Problems confronting the development of irrigation and flood control infrastructure include: acute shortage of indigenous technical staff (hydrologists, irrigation agronomists, engineers, etc.), poor funding, high foreign exchange content, technical design defects, inadequate monitoring and evaluation of irrigation schemes, the perennial failure to develop a maintenance culture, and sustainability.

In Nigeria, there was the political will to allocate substantial resources to irrigation4 but the performance has been dismal. Starting with a budgetary allocation of ₦2.060 million to irrigation in 1973/4, the federal government allocated ₦896.900 million to irrigation in 1983, a staggering increase of 43,438 per cent (see Table 6.1). Comprehensive development of river basins started in 1977 when 10 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) were created.5

Table 6.1 Federal government budgetary allocations to agriculture and irrigation, Nigeria, 1973–1983


Allocations to agriculture (₦m.)

Allocation to irrigation (₦m.)

Allocation to agriculture and irrigation (₦m.)

Allocation to irrigation as % of allocation to all agriculture and irrigation

Indices of allocations to agriculture (1973/4 = 100)

Indices of allocation to irrigation (1973/4 = 100)














































































(a) For expansion of South Chad Irrigation Scheme and Sokoto Rima Valley Development Project.

(b) ₦3.986 m. for expansion of South Irrigation Scheme; also ₦11 m. loan to the Sokoto Rima Development Authority for the Bakolori Project. The loan was granted by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Source: ‘Capital and Recurrent Estimates of the Federal Government of Nigeria’ (various issues).

The failure of the River Basin Development Authorities in Nigeria can be traced to five factors. The first was an improper assignment of roles: RBDAs were expected to build irrigation and flood control infrastructures, engage in seed multiplication, direct production of poultry, rice, maize, and other farm produce, distribute fertilizers and other farm products, dabble in rural (p.201) (p.202) institution building, and engage in agricultural extension, to mention a few of their responsibilities. RBDAs were consequently overstretched with respect to their scarce management and technical resources. Since the bulk of the agricultural staff were more at home with rainfed agriculture, they tended to emphasize rainfed agriculture activities to the neglect of their major mandate in irrigation.

Second, strategy focused on large‐scale dams, such as the Bakolori and Goronyo dams, which turned out to be too expensive to build and maintain, too complex technically, and too management intensive. Nothing was done with the large amounts of resources allocated to RBDAs to construct small‐scale irrigation facilities such as washbores, tubewells, and earth dams that would have had a much greater impact in terms of land area and number of farm families benefiting from the scheme.

The third factor relates to politicization, as manifested not only in organizational changes but also in role assignment. Organizationally, ‘the parastatal syndrome’ which gripped the nation during the oil boom era resulted in the multiplication of RBDAs from 11 to 18, one per state except Lagos. States came to see the RBDAs as representing their state interests, sowing the seeds of future state conflicts over water rights and the uncoordinated damming of rivers which originate in one state, flow through another, and end up in yet another state (Idachaba 1985). The creation of one RBDA per state roused old feelings about constitutional responsibility to a boiling level in 1981: 6 state governments took the federal government to court for using the RBDAs to engage in agricultural projects at the grassroots level. In a federal system depending on a highly decentralized smallholder agriculture, grassroots implementation of agricultural projects should be devolved to lower tiers of government. The RBDAs were wholly federally owned and, during the civilian political era, they were utilized to compete with mainstream state Ministries of Agriculture in the distribution of farm inputs, bush clearing, and land development. In fertilizer distribution, the RBDAs set up parallel fertilizer distribution programmes to compete with the state agencies especially in those states controlled by parties other than the NPN which controlled the federal government. Such institutional pluralism resulted in extreme forms of institutional ambiguities, with most states complaining that RBDAs were formulating and implementing programmes without proper consultation with the respective state governments.

Fourth, too many RBDAs were created simultaneously, allowing little or no scope for proper programme articulation. Many highly technical staff had to be recruited, leading to heavy management and technical staff import dependency. With no encouragement of a culture of serious programming, the RBDAs soon became a media political event that served as conduit pipes for wasteful public expenditures.

Finally, there was no monitoring mechanism and therefore no checks on RBDA malinvestments.

(p.203) The programmes of most RBDAs have atrophied in the face of austerity. Nigeria's agricultural landscape is now littered with huge concrete monuments of uncompleted and possibly uncompletable large dam projects caught in the budget squeeze.

The distribution of infrastructures

There is need to go beyond a narrow focus on productive infrastructures to include the question of access of the rural residents to potable water, health care facilities, schools, and electricity. Recent evidence from Nigeria shows not only the gross inadequacies in levels of available rural infrastructures of this kind, but also great rural‐urban disparities and regional imbalances (Idachaba 1985).

For example, in Borno State (representing 12.7 per cent of Nigeria's land area) primary school pupils in Kukawa local government area (LGA) must walk an average distance of 7.44 km to get to a primary school compared with 1.42 km for pupils in the Lagos mainland LGA in Lagos State, the seat of the Nigerian federal capital. Many state governments have, in response to the budgetary squeeze, converted boarding schools into day school. In Gongola State, the day secondary school student in Karim Lamido LGA must walk an average of 53.0 km to get to a secondary school, compared with only 9.80 km for his urban counterpart in the state capital (Yola LGA).

Similar rural–urban disparities exist in the distribution of health care facilities (e.g. hospitals, dispensaries, maternity centres), potable water supplies, electricity, and postal and telecommunications facilities. These rural–urban disparities account for an important part of the phenomenal growth in rural–urban migration.

When the comparison is not between rural and urban LGAs, but between different LGAs within a state, great disparities are still revealed. Using the LGA as the unit of observation, component states of the Nigerian federation could conceivably be ranked according to the value of the coefficient of variation of the infrastructural facility. The higher the coefficient of variation, the larger is the degree of regional disparity in available infrastructures among LGAs within a given state (see Tables 6.2 and 6.3 for an example relating to transport infrastructures). These intrastate contrasts explain the observed migration among towns and settlements of various sizes within a state, rather than a unidirectional flow from all the rural areas within a state to the capital city.

Table 6.2 The distribution of LGA, state, and federal roads, by states, Nigeria, 1978/9–1980


Federal lengths (km)

Measures of dispersion of road lengths across LGAs (coefficient of variation in %)

Federal roads

State roads

LGA roads

All roads

Federal roads

State Roads

LGA roads

All roads














































Cross River






























































































































Source: Original data from Rural Infrastructures Project Field Survey.

Table 6.3 The distribution of road densities, by states, Nigeria, 1978/9–1980


Road densities in metres/km2

Measures of dispersion of road densities across LGAs (coefficient of variation in %)

Federal roads

State roads

LGA roads

All roads

LGA median value (all roads)

Federal roads

State roads

LGA roads

All roads



















































Cross River












































































































































Source: Rural Infrastructures Project Field Survey.

(b) National agricultural research systems and the generation of new technology

The shift from low to high productivity inputs holds the key to the transformation of African agriculture. Unfortunately, national agricultural research systems are seriously constrained in their efforts to generate and disseminate new technology (Eicher and Baker 1982; Idachaba 1985).

(i) Research funding

Research funding has been grossly inadequate and unstable. Even where the funding appears reasonable, as was the case in (p.204) (p.205) (p.206) Nigeria until recently, most of the funding is eaten by Africa's bloated salary structure, leaving very little for equipment, consumable supplies, and infrastructures. In general, African countries have no target such as the percentage of agricultural GDP that is annually allocated to research. Many countries have therefore failed to build up the critical mass or threshold for technological breakthrough. Research directors spend too much valuable time worrying about how next month's salaries will be paid and too little time on micro‐research management and strategic research planning. In Nigeria where marketing board taxation has been abolished, and with it research funding from marketing board revenues, the research funding situation has become grim (Idachaba 1980, 1986).

Unpredictable and undesirable fluctuations in research funding result in badly formulated and poorly executed projects and the abandonment of uncompleted projects. Funding constraints of this nature compound the underlying serendipity problem in all research, further widening the probability distribution of possible outcomes of research.

(ii) Resource allocation criteria and research productivity

The resource allocation problem of deciding shares of available resources that go to different research institutions continues to cause distortions in actual allocations relative to research priorities. There are few countries in sub‐Saharan Africa, if any, which use explicit sets of allocative criteria to guide resource allocations to research.6 This has introduced some resource allocation puzzles and four types of research lags: the lag between the emergence of a research problem and its recognition as such, that between recognition and the allocation of research resources for diagnosis, that between problem diagnosis and prescription of solutions, and that between prescription and the allocation of resources to implement prescribed solutions. In addition, there is the time‐lag between implementation and impact. These lags appear to be unusually long in sub‐Saharan Africa.

There is concern over the appallingly low productivity of reasonably funded African national research systems, measured by the number of technological breakthroughs or standardized published material (Lipton 1985; Boyce and Evenson 1975).

Macro managers of national agricultural research systems have appointed as institute directors many men with little or no known capability for providing research leadership, motivating individual researchers, and liaising effectively with relevant government institutions and functionaries (not only to ensure adequate funding but also to obtain a correct sense of national research priorities from the political leadership).7 Research directors who fail to master (p.207) the art of ‘research resource canvassing’ become ineffective and will continue to bemoan the lack of resources.

Allocation of personnel, money, and materials to different programmes within an institute requires allocative criteria to prevent lopsidedness in funding and ensure consistency with national priorities. Mechanisms within institutes for deriving allocative priorities from the macro guidelines are extremely weak.

Gross inadequacy of qualified and experienced staff remains a critical problem even though a few countries (e.g. Kenya, Nigeria) have made significant progress in this respect. Many systems have not been able to build up the required critical mass and many vacancies exist. This narrow skill base remains crippling because commodity programmes requiring multidisciplinary teams are vulnerable to critical skill gaps, sometimes resulting in valuable research man years being spent on the wrong track.

Staff inadequacy is compounded by great staff instability or turnover (Idachaba 1981a). Institute research staff migrate to the universities, the private sector, and other spheres of the economy either because of higher real incomes and better service conditions or because they have been frustrated by bad research management at the micro‐ or macrolevel. With high staff instability, research becomes spotty and badly focused as research projects get inherited by successive generations with different research priorities. Part of the problem stems from the identity crisis of the civil servant—scientist whose career is usually a linear function of time but who is at the same time expected to produce technological breakthroughs (see Table 6.4).

Table 6.4 Calculated indices of instability of research staff, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, 1955/6–1977/8 (%)








Plant pathology












Soils and chemistry




Plant breeding












All research staff






(a) By 1961/2, the Ibadan substation of WACRI had only one Nigerian on the research staff (Nwachuku, a plant physiologist). By 1971/2, the entire research staff of 1961/2, including Nwachuku, had left CRIN, the successor to WACRI.

(b) Contains an upward bias because J. F. Longworth who worked as the only agronomist at the Ibadan substation of WACRI in 1958/9 switched to plant pathology by 1963/4.

Source: Idachaba (1981a).

There is a complete absence of effective mechanisms to monitor agricultural research that would provide an early warning system on resource use, constraints, and staff performance. Effective monitoring of agricultural research provides research management at the institute level with corrective management information. This requires superior capability in various disciplines and programmes at the macroresearch management level (either in‐house or outside) which can readily provide research institutes with needed technical support. Such continuous monitoring can then be fed into the periodic comprehensive evaluations of each institute.

(iii) Integration of research and extension

Failure to integrate research and extension remains a major problem across countries. Organizationally, the research institutes and extension services of Ministries of Agriculture are not integrated, with the former behaving as if their mandate stopped at placing recommended technologies on the shelf, and the latter behaving as if their responsibility consisted of periodic visits to the shelf to check on available technologies. In most countries, no effective two‐way communication flow has developed between farmers and researchers through extension workers and no (p.208) national network of adaptive research trials has been effectively inaugurated. Recommended seed varieties for broad ecological zones are unsuited to local environmental stresses; consequently, recorded technological breakthroughs in African agriculture remain few and isolated (Odero‐Ogwel et al. 1985).8

Agricultural extension systems remain weak, ill motivated, overstretched, demoralized, and ineffective. Constraints include long bureaucratic processes, poor funding and infrastructural support (especially transportation logistics), grossly inadequate cadre of subject‐matter specialists, and the near‐absence of routine programmes in training and visits. Extension systems remain weak not only in their technical mastery of new technologies and how these fit into existing farming systems, but also with respect to their ability to identify and utilize communication techniques that are most effective in a given socio‐cultural milieu.

(c) Harmful pricing policies

Five examples are presented of pricing policies in Africa. First is the regime of marketing board taxes that have choked off production, especially in mono‐crop economies where the government depends on a single crop for most of its revenue (e.g. cotton in Mali and groundnuts in Gambia). Gazetted producer prices have remained low relative to world prices, and statutory marketing costs have been high. These have acted as disincentives to mass adoption of innovations.

Second are the adverse terms of trade against agriculture caused by particular patterns of domestic inflation as well as by the primitive state of rural (p.209) infrastructures. Costs of non‐farm consumer goods have risen much faster than farmgate producer prices of farm commodities. Domestic monetary and fiscal policies have inflated production costs at the farm gate and depressed real farmgate producer prices, thus acting as disincentives to increased farm production for given levels of nominal producer prices.

Third is a system of overvalued exchange rates which has encouraged massive imports of cheap food and farm inputs, and at the same time has discouraged exports of farm produce. The adverse effects on export crop production are much more serious where government parastatal monopsonies purchase most of the crop, or where, with multiple market channels, other market channels remain weaker than the export market channel. In Ghana, cocoa production plummeted from 400,000 tons a year in the early 1970s to 158,000 tons in 1983/4, while the production of cotton, tobacco, and rubber dropped from about 11,000 tons, 2,700 tons, and 3,300 tons respectively in the mid‐1970s to only about 500 tons each in 1983 (World Bank 1985). The 1984/5 producer price of cocoa at the official exchange rate of Ȼ53 = $1 was 25 per cent of the f.o.b. price; at a shadow exchange rate of Ȼ70 = $1, about 19 per cent; and at the black market rate of Ȼ120 = $1, only about 11 per cent. At the same time, producer prices in neighbouring Ivory Coast and Togo were respectively 3.3 and 2.5 times the producer price in Ghana at the black market exchange rate (World Bank 1985).9

In Nigeria, the negative price effects of overvalued exchange rates are slightly ameliorated in those crops with multiple market outlets where the domestic market has been stronger than the export market (e.g. groundnuts, palm oil, palm kernel, maize, sheanuts, etc.). Cotton however provides a classic example of the effect of bad pricing policies. The Cotton Board has the monopoly for purchasing seed cotton for delivery to the ginneries. The producer price of cotton was pegged at ₦330.00 per tonne during 1977–80 within the context of an overvalued exchange rate, at a time when producer prices of competing grains were rising steeply on the domestic market. Cotton output fell and production of competing crops rose in spite of exhortations for farmers to grow cotton.

The fourth example relates to farm input subsidies. These subsidies are useful in the attainment of desired resource‐use patterns and factor proportions and in promoting appropriate incentives for the adoption of new technologies. They cushion farmers against the adverse terms of trade and grossly deficient rural infrastructures facing agriculture. Input subsidies could also serve as an instrument of income transfers to the rural sector as its own share of some windfall such as petrodollar earnings.

However, the drawbacks of the fertilizer and cocoa pesticide subsidy schemes in Nigeria in recent decades highlight several problems of farm input subsidies. These include (1) the creation of a ‘dependency mentality’ where (p.210) farmers have come to think of input subsidies as a permanent feature of their industry and that successive governments—civilian or military—have an obligation to grant them farm input subsidies, (2) protection of the marginal farmer from the relative price realities of the day, thereby delaying required dynamic adjustments of the agricultural sector, (3) discouragement of private sector participation in retail fertilizer distribution especially where panterritorial pricing policy stipulates uniform retail pricing policy, (4) interstate trafficking in cocoa pesticides from high‐subsidy states to low‐subsidy states and trafficking across Nigeria's international boundaries in search of foreign exchange, (5) retarded growth of the Nigerian fertilizer market as the quantity of fertilizer on the market tended to be determined by the size of the fertilizer subsidy budget,10 (6) distribution inefficiencies and contrived input scarcities that are directly caused by bureaucratic bottlenecks, and (7) there have been repeated complaints that a significant proportion of the benefits continues to flow to unintended beneficiaries.

Fifth, the interest rate structure has been unfavourable to agriculture especially when governments impose lending rate ceilings that are not significantly higher than borrowing rates. This has reduced the flow of loanable funds to the agricultural sector, especially from merchant banks and other credit institutions that must borrow from the capital market. The interest rate ceiling has the unintended consequence of limiting the total amount of available loanable funds, which are then rationed using non‐price criteria such as personal acquaintance, membership of the same social clubs, etc. As a result the small‐scale farmer, the intended beneficiary, fails to get any credit. Those who get credit are the retired civil servants, generals, professors, etc.

These five examples do not exhaust the range of inappropriate pricing policies, and one could also mention, say, inflationary domestic monetary and fiscal policies (especially deficit financing through bank credit) and urban minimum wage laws. These have resulted in high input costs that have rendered the African agricultural system one of the highest production cost economies in the world. The general problem that needs to be addressed is the non‐profitability of farming with the present cost–price structure.

(d) Institutional arrangements

(i) Defining the proper role of government

Increasingly widespread government intervention, particularly in direct agricultural production and distribution, has resulted in considerable administrative inefficiencies and waste of scarce public resources that have high social opportunity costs (World Bank 1981). Critics have argued that African countries do not have significantly higher ratios of public expenditure to GDP than other countries, and that (p.211) within the African region, it is not established that countries with low public expenditure to GDP ratios have achieved higher rates of economic growth (Colclough 1985). The issue is not clarified by generalized condemnation of the government's role in agriculture or by the search for correlations between public expenditure—GDP ratios and economic growth rates. The focus should be on the types of public expenditures. More, not less, public spending is needed in small‐scale and medium‐scale irrigation infrastructures, rural feeder roads, markets, and agricultural research and extension. Less, not more, public funding is required to establish large‐scale mechanized farms, produce poultry, dairy products, and engage in routine grain trading in direct competition with private channels (see Table 6.5).

Table 6.5 Government and private sector involvement in farm input distribution, sub‐Saharan Africa, 1981

Farm inputs

No. of sub‐Saharan countries

Low‐income semi‐arid

Low‐income other

Middle‐income oil importers

Middle‐income oil exporters

All sub‐Saharan Africa

Fertilizer supply


4 (11.11)

4 (11.11)


7 (19.44)

10 (27.78)

4 (11.11)

2 (5.56)

23 (63.89)


6 (16.67)

3 (8.33)

9 (25.00)

Seed supply


4 (11.11)

4 (11.11)


6 (16.67)

9 (25.00)

5 (13.89)

2 (5.56)

22 (61.11)


1 (2.78)

7 (19.44)

2 (5.56)

10 (27.78)



2 (5.56)

4 (11.11)

6 (16.67)


6 (16.67)

8 (22.22)

2 (5.56)

1 (2.78)

17 (47.22)


1 (2.78)

6 (16.67)

5 (13.89)

1 (2.78)

13 (36.11)

Farm equipment supply


2 (5.56)

6 (16.67)

8 (22.22)


6 (16.67)

6 (16.67)

2 (2.56)

1 (2.78)

15 (41.67)


1 (2.78)

8 (22.22)

3 (8.33)

1 (2.78)

13 (36.11)

Note: Percentage of all sub‐Saharan countries in brackets.

Source: Derived from data in World Bank (1981).

(ii) Frequent changes in policy, inconsistencies, and non‐response

A perennial problem of African agriculture is the frequency of policy changes, revisions, modifications, and, quite often, embarrassing reversals. There are three sources for these frequent changes that often produce inconsistencies.

First is the set of changes in policy that are the direct consequence of changes in political regime. In this case, policy instability is the direct result of political instability. Some of the changes in policy introduced by a new regime would be justified in order to correct for bad programming (formulation and/or implementation) and inadequate sense of priorities on the part of preceding regimes. The more stable the political climate, the more stable would be the policy environment.11 Unless the policy environment is stable, key empirical relationships cannot be established and measured. After all, the issues over which policy analysts and policy makers disagree are mainly empirical, not theoretical, revolving round the signs and magnitudes of estimated coefficients. Since the food and fibre problem is urgent in most African countries, every new incoming regime believes strongly that it has a solution.

Second, policies are changed on purely cosmetic grounds to give a semblance of change when in reality there is none, sometimes to give legitimacy to a regime. Old programmes get dressed in new slogans, new rounds of false expectations are built up, all ending in dashed hopes.

Finally, there is policy change borne out of a ‘quick fix’ syndrome reflecting an underlying impatience with agricultural programmes which fail to yield results like urban turn‐key manufacturing projects.

Unpredictable and confusing policy changes ruin investors' confidence. When expectations on returns from potential farm investments are not stable, investments are smaller than they would otherwise have been. This accounts in part for observed limited new investments and new management entry in those countries that have witnessed frequent changes in food and agricultural policy. Table 6.6 chronicles recent changes in institutional arrangements for managing agricultural research in Nigeria. (p.212)

Table 6.6 Frequent changes in institutional arrangements for managing agricultural research in Nigeria, 1964–1985

Acts and decrees




1. Nigerian Research Institutes Act


Established Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, Rubber Institute of Nigeria, and Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research

Following dissolution of West African Research Organization in 1962

2. Nigerian Council for Science and Technology Decree


Umbrella organization to co‐ordinate research grouped into physical sciences, agriculture, medicine

3. Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Decree (ARCN Decree)


Established ARCN to co‐ordinate all agricultural research

4. Agricultural Research Institutes Decree


Vested power to establish institutes to conduct research and training in any field of agriculture, veterinary sciences, fisheries, forestry, agro‐meteorology, and water resources in Federal Commissioner for Agriculture; also power to take over any existing state research station

Watershed in state/federal funding of agricultural research. Destroyed all incentive for states to fund agricultural research

5. Research Institutes (Establishment) Order



Clear commodity mandate for each institute

6. National Science and Technology Development Agency Decree


Set up an executive agency to co‐ordinate all research in Nigeria, agricultural and non‐agricultural. All research institutes established by the 1975 decree were brought under the aegis of the NSTDA

Replaced the 1973 decree but still vested powers to take control of any existing federal or state research establishment in NSTDA Commissioner.

7. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Placed ‘industrial and agricultural research’ on the concurrent list

8. Federal Ministry of Science & Technology Act


Scrapped the NSTDA, created the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology

9. Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Decree


Scrapped the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and merged it with Federal Ministry of Education

Military suspended constitution

10. Federal Ministry of Science and Technology Decree


Created separate Federal Ministry of Science and Technology

(p.213) African policy makers have chosen the easier path when confronted with serious food and agricultural problems, which is to create a new parastatal, that ubiquitous tool crafted by civil servants and cherished by their political bosses. Parallel institutions have been created with duplicated roles that quite often overlap with those of existing institutions, creating institutional rivalry and ambiguities that generate enough hostility and resentment to sabotage new programmes, regardless of their intrinsic merit (see Table 6.7 and Appendix 6.1 for recent evidence on Nigeria and Tanzania).

Table 6.7 Agricultural parastatals in Tanzania, 1983



(a) Agricultural Marketing

1. National Milling Corporation

Sole rights to buy domestically produced grains and import when necessary

2. Sugar Development Corporation

Sole rights to market, export, and import sugar

3. Tanzania Cotton Authority

Sole rights to purchase and export cotton

4. Coffee Authority of Tanzania

Sole rights to purchase and export coffee

5. Tanzania Pyrethrum Board

Sole rights to purchase and export pyrethrum

6. Tobacco Authority of Tanzania

Sole rights to purchase and export tobacco

7. Tanzania Tea Authority

Sole rights to purchase and export tea

8. Tanzania Sisal Authority

Sole rights to purchase and export sisal

9. Cashewnut Authority of Tanzania

Sole rights to purchase and export cashew

10. General Agricultural Products Corporation

Monopoly rights to purchase and export a range of minor crops

(b) Agricultural production

11. National Agriculture and Food Production

Principally wheat and rice production

12. Rilombero Sugar Corporation

Sugar production

13. Tanganyika Planting Company

Sugar production

14. Mtwimba Sugar Estates

Sugar production

15. Dairy Farming Corporation

Livestock and milk production

16. National Ranching Corporation

(c) Agricultural credit

17. Tanzania Rural Development Bank

(d) Agricultural inputs

18. Agricultural and Industrial Supplies Company

Importation of agricultural inputs and equipment

19. State Motor Corporation

Sole rights to import vehicles and spare parts

20. Tanzania Fertilizer Company

Production and marketing of fertilizer

21. Tanzania Seed Company

Production and marketing of seed

(e) Agricultural research, extension, and education

22. Tanzania Agricultural Research Organization

Generation of new technical packages

23. Tanzania Livestock Research Organization

24. Uyole Agricultural Centre

25. University of Dar es Salaam

(f) Transport and retailing

26. Regional Trading Corporation

Food crop retailing

27. Regional Transport Companies

Provision of transport services

Source: World Bank (1983a).

(iii) Public bureaucracy and implementation indiscipline

Centralized public bureaucracies operating a system of parastatals and ministries strive to manipulate smallholder agriculture through a maze of administrative rules. Implementation indiscipline remains a fundamental problem, especially the inability to follow a rigorous implementation routine without succumbing to conflicting interest groups and preventing avoidable cost overruns. Civil servants are brought up to adhere rigidly to rules and procedures: programmes are expected to adjust to the established bureaucracy and not the other way round. Development programming, as seen through the bureaucrat's eyes, must be within the context of ‘workability’ within the existing milieu of procedures. Hence the typical, almost instantaneous, response of many civil servants to a new programme is a blunt ‘it won't work’, backed up by a recital of the administrative procedures and other established norms that irrevocably stand in the way of implementation. Implementation indiscipline has persisted from year to year and from regime to regime largely because there has been no vigorous social articulation to pressurize the agricultural establishment for better performance. Far too many civil servants are concerned with relative positions of institutions and individuals rather than with the programme content of new ideas. Overriding concern with the linear time path of their careers prevents civil servants from venturing into new ideas and implementation procedures.

Far too many programmes get bogged down in bureaucratic snarls, the antithesis of agriculture's requirements of timeliness. Political priorities often fail to get translated into administrative (procedural) priorirites, again suggesting the necessity to reduce some key lags.

(iv) Political will

There is often a lack of political will to pursue those agricultural programmes that are in the nation's long‐term interest, as against short‐term political expediency. Political expediency has manifested itself in urban appeasement policies such as urban minimum wage laws and cheap food and input imports maintained by a system of overvalued exchange rates. It requires political will to formulate and implement a programme for the inarticulate rural majority. The problem of political will in sub‐Saharan Africa has been compounded by high political instability. Political will, if it is to have an enduring impact, requires a minimum level of political stability. (p.214)

(p.215) 6.3. Policy options for African agriculture

This section is divided into six subthemes: sectoral strategy; rural infrastructures; agricultural research and technology; incentives and prices; external aid; and rural institutions and mobilization.

(a) Sectoral strategy: the role of agriculture in economic development

Different sectoral strategies have been pursued in Africa, which can be related to different philosophical views of the role of agriculture in economic development.

Agriculture as source of surplus food and fibre

When agriculture is viewed primarily as a source of surplus food and fibre to provide needed foreign exchange or food for the urban economy, maximum extraction becomes the strategy. Both the rural sector and agriculture are seen purely in their extraction roles, with rural man or woman, the source of these surpluses, treated merely as a producer of surpluses and not as a household head whose family members need good primary and secondary schools, potable drinking water, housing, electricity, etc. (de Janvry 1981). The World Bank‐assisted (p.216) (p.217) Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) still do not provide the full range of basic social services over and above the integrated supply of farm inputs and physical infrastructural facilities such as rural feeder roads, farm service centres, small earth dams, and market stalls.

Agriculture as foreign exchange earner

Dependence of sub‐Saharan Africa on agriculture as a source of foreign exchange earnings measured as a proportion of total export earnings ranges from 0.6 per cent in Gabon to 98.6 per cent in Chad. Pertinent issues to consider are trade‐offs between export crops and competing non‐exports, especially food crops; the drastic fall in Africa's share of world commodity trade; and the need for diversification of foreign exchange earnings.

But equally important is the question of foreign exchange for what and for whom? Past experience confirms that most countries use the foreign exchange earnings from agriculture to finance five‐star hotels, township stadia, breweries, car assembly plants, etc. in the capital cities with little or nothing to show in the rural sector, the source of the original extraction.

Agriculture as source of public revenue

Agriculture's role in most countries is perceived as a major source of public revenue through marketing board taxes. For many countries, this system, which has crippled the agricultural sector, should have been discarded long ago within the framework of deliberate revenue diversification. Extremely resource‐poor countries (e.g. Mali) relying on agriculture as the only source of revenue cannot, of course, abolish these taxes overnight. Yet, the production effects of crop taxes can be so adverse that the elasticity of government revenue with respect to the marketing board tax rate can become very small or even negative at sufficiently high tax rates, making taxation ineffective or self‐defeating.

Agriculture as generator of employment opportunities

The provision of employment opportunities in agriculture is important not only from the viewpoint of utilizing resources that would have otherwise been idle but also from the viewpoint of reducing the massive rural‐urban drift and solving the urban youth unemployment problem. One constraint on this option is the high cost of farm labour, resulting from institutionalized urban minimum wages. In these countries, overvalued exchange rates have in addition made labour substitutes cheaper than they would otherwise have been. Many farm settlement schemes have been tried but have failed. To be a viable option, farm settlement and other related schemes to generate employment opportunities must fulfil certain conditions. First, they must be perceived to go beyond providing the urban élite with a solution to the politically troubling urban unemployment problem. They must aim at developing the rural area with the participants as the centrepiece. Second, such schemes must be designed so that participants see themselves as owners of the farming enterprises and not just as paid government employees only waiting for new off‐farm job market opportunities (p.218) to materialize. Finally, macroeconomic measures (credit, terms of trade between agriculture and non‐agriculture, producer price support programmes, domestic inflation and the general price level, etc.) must be supportive of the settlement schemes.

Related to this is the role of agriculture as a source of income that generates demand for rural non‐farm goods and services, especially those with income elastic demands at low‐income levels. The role of agriculture in providing rural markets for consumer goods and services produced in the non‐farm sector should also not be underestimated, emphasizing the linkages between the farm and the rural non‐farm industrial sector.

Agriculture and macroeconomic goals

Many countries emphasize self‐reliance as a national goal. Agriculture as the dominant sector holds the key to the realization of this goal. Development patterns of the agricultural sector are dictated by the needs of economic nationalism and its specific manifestations in the form of food self‐sufficiency. If agriculture is to be the source of national economic growth, disproportionately large amounts of resources should be allocated to it so that it can carry the ‘growth burden’ of the other sectors.

(b) Rural infrastructures

Several general issues arise in the design of appropriate policies for rural infrastructures. First is the choice between consolidation of inherited colonial hinterland‐seaport links which service the export economy and the development of a decentralized rural road network to service Africa's food economies. The choice is determined partly by the choice between export crop and food crop production and partly by wider issues of national social cohesion and integration. Second is the allocation of fiscal responsibilities for physical infrastructures (e.g. feeder roads) between government and local communities and between different tiers of government. Appropriate institutional arrangements need to be evolved, involving government and the local communities that are able to tap the creative energies of rural people in the design, construction, and maintenance of rural roads, water pumps, etc. Third, appropriate methodologies need to be evolved for appraising infrastructural projects: should they be assessed as part of an agricultural project package or should they be assessed on their own merits? The significance of this issue lies in the complementarities between the infrastructural programme and the agricultural programme, and in the need for institutional collaboration between the agricultural and infrastructural sectors.

Concerning rural roads, considerations of cost recovery and of the local capacity to finance maintenance costs suggest the priority need to build the first set of rural roads in areas of high agricultural potential as a means of expanding the local fiscal base. The choice between construction of new rural roads and concentration on the rehabilitation of old road networks needs to be based on (p.219) country‐specific circumstances. The failure of many countries to maintain existing roads should not mean an end to all new road construction in all countries.12 Rather it means that in those countries with clearly demonstrable needs for new roads, safeguards must be built into project design to ensure sustained local maintenance capabilities.

On farm service centres, experience from ongoing projects points to several issues. First is the choice between a strategy of a few primary farm service centres serviced by a network of secondary communal facilities and a strategy in which the project strives to saturate a project area with its own farm service centres. While the ADPs in Liberia adopted the former strategy, Nigeria adopted the latter. The former has the advantage of long‐run sustainability because the storage facilities belong to the community. Second is the relationship between commercial sales staff at the farm service centres and extension staff, not only because of recurring conflict but also because of the need for continuous collaboration for farmers to be able to reap the full productivity benefits from the new purchased inputs. Third is the need to reconcile the commercial profitability criterion with the need for equitable development so that backward inaccessible areas are not gradually neglected in the quest to concentrate input sales only in those areas with largest turnover. Fourth is the problem of commercial viability of the farm input account when the government imposes a panterritorial farm input‐subsidy pricing policy with no reimbursement to project management for transport and other marketing costs.

Concerning irrigation infrastructures, African countries are confronted with several policy options and dilemmas. First, countries must choose between small‐scale, medium‐scale, and large‐scale irrigation schemes. Capital and foreign exchange intensive colossal irrigation schemes benefiting a limited number of farm households and irrigating a limited area of land represent the one option that most countries have tended to prefer. So much attention is focused on the dazzling engineering aspects of those schemes that primary activities like efficient management and delivery of irrigation water resources and the design of monitoring and evaluation schemes and effective cost‐recovery schemes are often relegated to the background. Two trends are expected: first, the share of all irrigation in total resource allocation to agriculture will rise, and second, the share of small‐scale irrigation (tubewells, washbores, and small earth dams) in total irrigation will rise. The latter trend must be a deliberate political decision; otherwise, programming for irrigation when left to engineers alone tends to be biased in favour of the big irrigation schemes, almost always to the neglect of the small‐scale schemes. Second, some choice is involved at the margin between allocating resources to irrigation (p.220) and allocating resources to breeding work on short‐duration seed varieties. What is required is simultaneous programming for breeding work and the development of appropriate irrigation infrastructures. Finally, countries must often choose between accepting foreign technical assistance that is biased in favour of large irrigation schemes (for their high political visibility) and making do with small‐scale and medium‐scale irrigation projects financed from domestic resources. Such large‐scale foreign aid‐assisted schemes absorb so much public management input that there is little or no time for national systems endogenously to formulate irrigation policies which emphasize simplicity, replicability, maintenance, and sustainability.

(c) Agricultural research and technology

Agricultural research

The choice must be made between alternative organizational models for managing national research systems: (1) Ministry of Agriculture model, (2) Ministry of Science and Technology model, (3) parastatal model, and (4) an Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Model. The Ministry model, whether Agriculture or Science and Technology, tends to get bogged down in bureaucratic bottlenecks. The fatal flaw of the Science and Technology model is that the national agricultural research system is not keyed into the programming work of the Agriculture Ministry which has portfolio responsibility for executing agricultural programmes. Programme priorities fail to get translated into agricultural research priorities or get translated after unduly long lags. Co‐ordination within such a model is obtained through interministerial meetings which are notorious for their operational ineffectiveness. The flexibility of the parastatal or ARC model strongly recommends it for African national research systems, though each country would have to identify the model that works against the background of its historical, constitutional, and cultural legacies.

Attempts at explaining the inadequacies of African agricultural research systems have focused almost exclusively on such supply side factors as inadequate and unstable funding and staffing, institutional ambiguities, etc., to the total neglect of demand side factors. On the demand side, the issue is largely organizational: how to articulate the research needs of widely dispersed small‐scale farmers. Research systems must identify new mechanisms to find out why farmers do what they do, their research needs and priorities. The key to this is the active utilization of existing rural institutions to serve as a medium for conveying research needs and priorities to researchers. What is required is a highly decentralized network of rural institutions.

Large‐scale farms are becoming important as sources of food and fibre surpluses. So are large‐scale poultry farms and fisheries. One option is to allow the research system to respond to issues and problems that have been best articulated, with the socially unacceptable result that big and influential farmers will capture the national agricultural research system and direct it mainly to the issues that concern them. The response of the policy process (p.221) depends on the linkages between policy makers and the different social classes in the agricultural sector. If policy makers identify mainly with the class interests of the large‐scale farmers, then the research system will be motivated to address the research needs of the large‐scale and medium‐scale farmers. It requires political will and commitment to resist the constant pressures of large‐and medium‐scale farmers and to get the research system to address the research needs of small‐scale farmers.

On research‐extension linkages, one option is to continue with the present system of agricultural research institutes which give the worst of both worlds: they are neither Rothamstead nor the land grant system of the USA. The other option is structurally to transform the present system along three possible lines. One is to establish agricultural universities so that state ministry extension services and agricultural research are properly integrated. Second, applied research capabilities within the new World Bank‐assisted ADPs could be vastly expanded to form a proper research base linked with the extension arms of these projects. Third, existing research institutes could be merged with university faculties of agriculture in their localities to service their catchment areas. Unless a drastic solution is found, the problem of building up a network of adaptive research centres well suited to local environmental niches will continue to plague these countries.13

On institutional arrangements for research at the regional level, two choices are open. One is to rely on the CGIAR system now that most of the panterritorial research organizations have been dismantled. Three issues readily come to mind. First, is the present set of mandates for the CGIAR centres adequate and appropriate for Africa's food crisis? For example, sub‐Saharan Africa continues to rely on ICRISAT outposts for breakthroughs in sorghum and millet but recorded success in mass adoption of new varieties is still minimal. Second, are the research priorities of CGIAR of the biological and chemical technology type, though relevant for the land‐deficit countries of Asia, appropriate for land‐surplus sub‐Saharan Africa where the primary need might not be increases in productivity per unit of land area but increases in productivity per man day? In other words, relative factor scarcities and prices in those Asian and Central American countries serviced by the first generation of CGIAR centres are radically different from those of sub‐Saharan Africa. Third, African countries must endeavour to promote close collaboration between national research systems and the CGIAR centres especially in the areas of mechanical technology, joint breeding, and release of new varieties.

The other option is to encourage networking among national research systems as a substitute for the erstwhile panterritorial research institutes.

Farm organization, factor proportions and appropriate technology

Dire predictions are being made by informed and uninformed observers about the (p.222) imminent disappearance of the African small‐scale farmer who is to be replaced by the modern large‐scale farmer. Policy makers are being called upon to stop wasting resources on a rapidly vanishing species and to concentrate instead on the needs of the large‐scale farmer for combine harvesters, tractors, monocropping agronomy, etc.

The modal farm size in Nigeria and many African countries is 1–2 hectares. Most farm families operate holdings within this modal class, and most farm holdings are within this class. Any policy aimed at improving the productive status of the typical farming household or the typical farm holding must therefore focus strongly on the small‐scale farm, at least in the short to medium term. Available empirical evidence does not show any inherent superiority of large‐scale over small‐scale farms in terms of technical efficiency or production elasticity of inputs, net value added, profitability or net farm income per unit area. Since large‐scale farmers tend to have the best‐quality lands, land quality has to be held constant for any valid comparisons of small‐scale and large‐scale farmers. Table 6.8 shows that while the ratio of mean output on commercial farms to mean output on communal farms in Zimbabwe is about 4:1, the corresponding ratio of value added is only 2.4:1 because of the high production cost of large‐scale commercial farms.

Table 6.8 Input–output relationships on large‐ and small‐scale farms, Zimbabwe, 1974–1980


Commercial (large‐scale)

Communal farm



Value added



Value added

























































Source: World Bank (1983b).

Co‐operative and communal farms have been romanticized in popular writings on African agriculture for quite some time, but like most romantic ideas, this one has little or no bearing on reality. Producer co‐operatives in Africa, as elsewhere, have largely failed to take off. Communal farms, conceptually and culturally appealing, have little prospect of becoming Africa's future mode of farm organization. What holds out promise is a network of consolidated contiguous farms, individually owned and operated as such, which make for easier and cheaper mechanization.

(p.223) Africa's ageing farm labour needs to be replaced by more appropriate sources of motive power. Where the tsetse fly permits, oxen technology needs to be intensified. Where this is not possible, appropriate mechanization is needed. Three issues arise. First is the impact of overvalued domestic currencies which have made farm machinery imports cheaper than they would have been otherwise. This has artificially encouraged the substitution of machines for men in countries with severe youth unemployment. Second is the lack of viable ‘mechanized land development technological packages’ that do minimum damage to Africa's fragile tropical soils. Present destructive patterns by which contracts for bush clearing and land development are awarded to urban‐based contractors with little knowledge of tropical soils end up making them increasingly dependent on inorganic fertilizers. The plain fact is that more is known about rainfed crop agronomy than about mechanized clearing and land development. Third is the foreign exchange constraint which greatly limits the mechanization option.14

(d) Incentives and prices

(i) Role of government

Three issues need to be addressed. First, can internal forces be trusted to work endogenously to get governments to disengage from inappropriate roles such as commercial production and sales of poultry, pork, rice, and maize, as well as retail fertilizer distribution? Second, what are the alternatives to government participation in these activities? Third, what are the priorities for appropriate government involvement in agriculture?

Interest groups coalesce into strong opposition of government disengagement. Some of the opposition is ideological, dressed up in technical terms such as market failures, externalities, avoidance of monopoly, and the concentration of economic power in a few hands. Bureaucrats and their political bosses continuously raise expectations about the next round of ‘reorganization, revamping, and revitalization’ of the parastatals to make them profitable, or at least independent of regular treasury subventions. But periodic changes in top management of agricultural parastatals have not arrested their operating losses. Disengagement has come with the structural adjustment loans of the World Bank and IMF's conditionalities. Some have argued that there are no private sector alternatives when the state retreats (Bienefeld 1983). However, African small‐scale farmers have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to respond to economic incentives. Government should concentrate on the provision of a conducive institutional, infrastructural, and policy environment that will elicit maximum response from farmers.

(ii) Farm input and output pricing15

Several issues need to be resolved (p.224) concerning the role of input subsidies. First, criteria must be specified to guide national governments in allocating a given government subsidy budget among different farm subsidies. Relevant considerations include the importance of the resource in total production cost, the ‘strategic’ importance of the input as it affects the timeliness of farming operations or removes some critical production bottlenecks, and the output elasticity of the input, to name a few. Similarly, criteria need to be explicitly formulated to assign fiscal responsibilities for farm input subsidies between different tiers of government (state and federal). A case can be made, for instance, for relatively higher federal subsidies on inputs used in the production of those commodities that augment and diversify the country's foreign exchange earnings and those inputs that facilitate achievement of national food security and self‐reliance objectives (e.g. irrigation water), leaving state governments to focus on inputs used in production of food and fibre of local significance.

On the appropriate levels of input subsidies, what, on a priori grounds, are the determinants of levels of farm input subsidies? In an earlier effort, this author showed that within the analytic framework of the theory of second best with a Cobb–Douglas production function, the required degree of farm input subsidy for given levels of marketing board taxes on crops is related to the input's output elasticity.16 On producer price support schemes, a critical prerequisite for success is the optimal sequencing of government prices. Countries that have successfully operated price support schemes have also had more advanced networks of rural institutions and rural infrastructures before the implementation of producer price support schemes than currently exist in sub‐Saharan Africa. When price support schemes are combined with urban consumer food and industrial price subsidies, the resulting huge budget deficits turn out to be too expensive and inflationary, especially when such deficits are financed through bank credit. The Tanzanian experience with the National Milling Corporation highlights the severe limitations of such pricing schemes.

The relative weights of input subsidies and producer price support schemes in national agricultural pricing policy depend on the objectives to be achieved. If the objective is technological transformation and the promotion of particular resource‐use patterns, then farm input subsidies deserve greater weight. Similarly, if the objective is to compensate farmers for taxes on export crops which are taken as institutional realities, then input subsidies are the clear choice in such a second‐best situation. If, however, the aim is to cope with the consequences of excess capacity in the presence of price inelastic demands for food, then producer price schemes become instruments for transferring income from the urban to the rural sector (a situation inapplicable to most of Africa).

Using a distributed lag model, this author found that the adjustment lags (p.225) were faster and shorter with input prices than with output prices, suggesting that for the purpose of promoting aggregate input demand, more emphasis should be placed on farm input subsidies than on producer price support schemes.17 This is eminently plausible as producer price support schemes merely confer generalized purchasing power which ends in buying farm and non‐farm commodities. Input subsidies are superior in this regard because of their resource specificity. The optimality of subsidies or price support schemes also depends on the concurrent availability of other complementary policy instruments such as rural feeder roads, easily accessible farm credit, and storage facilities, to mention a few.

(iii) Trade and exchange rate policy options

Most countries must choose between the demands of efficiency on the one hand, and economic nationalism and self‐reliance on the other. In terms of efficiency, resources need to be sharply focused on those commodities in which the country has distinct comparative advantage. For export crops, the clear option is for countries dramatically to raise productivity not only to stop the erosion of Africa's share of world trade but also to reverse it (World Bank 1981). Whether this leads to significant foreign exchange gains or not depends on Africa's relative shares and the price elasticities of demand for its agricultural exports. This calls for diversification of export crop production from ‘higher’ to ‘lower’ share exports and from ‘low’ to ‘high’ price‐elasticity‐of‐demand crops. Otherwise, Africa could be a victim of the ‘fallacy of composition’ since what might be true for an individual country need not be true for the entire continent (Godfrey 1983).

The case for departing from the rule of comparative advantage in the direction of greater self‐reliance rests on four key considerations. First is the social utility derived by a country's citizens from self‐reliance (the reduced dependence on imports). In the case of food, for example, a country's sense of national pride is hurt when it is fed, on the average, by outsiders—hence the desire of many countries for food self‐reliance and self‐sufficiency. Second is the desire to avoid discontinuities in available food supplies and the attendant entitlement collapse by sudden, unpredictable, and undesirable disruptions in overseas sources of food supply (caused by weather changes and changes in the policy environment) (Sen 1985). Increasing a country's self‐sufficiency ratio reduces its exposure to such external exigencies and shocks. Third is the infant industry argument by which protection is offered during the development phase when unit fixed costs remain high relative to market size. Finally, developing countries appeal to ‘nth‐best’ theory, laying stress on certain export subsidies in the developed countries. Imports from developed countries land at African ports at ‘border’ prices that may not reflect true production costs in the developed countries. The problem arises when multilateral agencies insist on comparing such distorted border prices with domestic prices in African (p.226) countries as a basis for prescribing what these countries should produce domestically and what they should import based on ‘import parity’ considerations.

Though second‐best arguments are conceptually elegant, there are operational difficulties in evolving consistent and practical policy packages. One option is to compute domestic resource costs (DRCs) of saving or earning one dollar of foreign exchange to determine comparative advantage. Estimates of DRCs for Ghana indicate comparative advantage in cocoa, oil palm, rubber, coconut, tobacco, and cotton, marginal comparative advantage in groundnuts, and a clear disadvantage in sugarcane; food crops have a marginal comparative advantage because of low yields. When the comparative cost analysis meant to determine optimal investment portfolio is examined along with actual incentive schemes, it emerges that the crops with clear comparative advantage (cocoa, rubber, cotton, and tobacco) are also the crops subject to net taxation, while crops with clear comparative disadvantage (rice) have high net protection (World Bank 1985). Many countries have complicated tariff structures and an array of effective protection rates across industries. These need to be rationalized and simplified as an initial step toward trade liberalization, albeit within the context of economic nationalism. Also, if domestic economies are to benefit from the new price relativities, the structural bottlenecks which introduce long response lags in the production of exportables and importables need to be urgently removed.

Countries with overvalued exchange rates should move beyond debating whether or not to adjust exchange rates to considerations of the critical prerequisites for minimizing the pains of exchange rate adjustment. The first prerequisite is an objective assessment of the degree of overvaluation and the initial determination of an operationally effective devaluation strategy: whether the required exchange rate adjustment should be achieved in one large‐scale devaluation or whether it should be a series of sequential devaluations.18 Care must be taken to ensure that a mass psychology of inflationary expectations does not develop. Second, structural bottlenecks with respect to rural infrastructures should be removed to make the agricultural sector flexible and responsive to the new set of relative prices, if the country is to gain on the export side. Third, structural bottlenecks in those sectors that produce import substitutes should be removed to reduce the inflationary impact of devaluation. Fourth, increased government revenues as a result of devaluation need to be consciously spent on the productive sector rather than services on government account to curb the inflationary consequences. Finally, there must be sufficient socio‐political discipline to ensure that increases in money income do not wipe out the gains from devaluation; in (p.227) particular, real effective foreign exchange rates must not be allowed to depreciate after devaluation.

The general inflationary consequences of exchange rate adjustment and the real income effects drastically reduce food entitlements of the poor, given the large weight of food in their consumption baskets. Structural adjustment loans and IMF conditionalities do not adequately consider the distributive impact of exchange rate adjustments, declines in real incomes, elimination of farm input subsidies, and draconian cuts in public expenditures on food entitlements of the poor and vulnerable groups. This is partly due to the changing philosophical position of the World Bank—from the equity and poverty‐conscious Bank of the MacNamara days to the market forces posture of the Bank under Clausen. Recipients of loans from the World Bank—IMF system contemplating structural and balance‐of‐payments adjustments must seriously consider their socio‐political consequences.

(e) External aid

Experience in Ethiopia and the Sahel shows that the absorptive capacity of recipient countries needs to be urgently built up so that food entitlements of the genuinely needy do not get bogged down in bureaucratic snarls. This is the lesson from Europe's Marshall Plan: successful technical aid requires technical absorptive capacity. Emphasis must shift from the use of food aid as an emergency tool to its use as a development tool (Singer 1985). Beyond the short‐term augmentation of food availability, countries must, in the medium term, utilize available aid to rehabilitate a rural economy that has been battered by prolonged drought and generations of bad government policies.

Part of the problem lies in the inability of some aid recipients to articulate aid needs beyond panic responses to drastically reduced food entitlements of the rural population. Donors quite often dictate the pace with the result that long‐term issues and problems are left till another day and another crisis.

World Bank‐assisted Agricultural Development Projects raise several issues (Lele 1975). First, are they necessary? As sources of extra resource flows, they are necessary in a region with built‐in biases against agriculture and rural development and where the level of political discipline leaves little room for patient programming for a sector with long production lags.

Second, are the designs appropriate? Issues here include programmatic content (rural infrastructures versus agriculture; production versus marketing and storage; physical infrastructures versus social infrastructures such as potable water; strengthening of existing Ministry of Agriculture institutions versus setting up of parallel institutions, etc.). Some of the projects in Nigeria have been criticized for being strong on physical infrastructures and weak on agriculture; this is only a matter of sequencing as the development of rural infrastructures must precede the agricultural package. Though the older generation of ADPs excluded social infrastructures, the newer projects have added these on. Some have argued that rather than encourage new exotic (p.228) parallel institutions, the World Bank should have concentrated on strengthening mainstream Ministries of Agriculture, especially because of the need for continuity after project completion. State Ministries of Agriculture are part of larger centralized public bureaucracies where possession of or access to bureaucratic power in state organizations has not been translated into a set of moral obligations to the larger society, beyond self, ethnic group, sectoral interest group, or region.19 Efforts to strengthen Ministries of Agriculture must recognize the total (civil service) institutional milieu; otherwise, such efforts will fail, just like the earlier efforts of USAID to strengthen African faculties of agriculture within the general service conditions of a university.

Third, is there too much World Bank control? The loan agreements typically designate some key positions that must be filled by internationally recruited staff which in the majority of cases also turn out to be expatriates. This is an unsatisfactory position especially in countries with large pools of qualified personnel: when the Project Manager and the Financial Controller are expatriates who play a dominant role in the commitment of millions of dollars of borrowed money, the situation becomes clearly unacceptable.

Finally, have they been successful? By the internal rate of return criterion, the first generation of ADPs in Nigeria were successful. When other benefits such as those from feeder roads, institution building, and the social benefits of the development of a culture of sustained recurrent and capital funding of agriculture by state governments are added, the verdict would be more positive. After the first generation of generalized institutional and infrastructural development, the projects should move to the next phase of industry‐wide farm commodity programming and interregional production specialization support cutting across state (administrative) boundaries.

Donor agencies have acquiesced to aid requests in pursuit of policies that have little or no prospect of utilizing a country's resources efficiently. No doubt donor agency officials had good intentions in hoping that they could assist in reforming from the inside but in many cases they have only succeeded in making bad situations worse.

(f) Rural institutions and mobilization

There are at least two options. One is to introduce exogenously from the public bureaucracy particular forms of rural institutions, such as farmers' cooperatives, which will liaise with relevant public and private institutions on matters of interest to members. Results from country experiences are mixed, though there appear to be more failures than successes. Reasons for failure include poor management, financial fraud, loss of confidence, and erosion of membership loyalty. Other reasons include lack of appropriate incentives sufficiently to motivate farmers to want to become and remain members of co‐operative societies, inadequate supervisory management from governments, (p.229) and a failure on the part of public officials to appreciate why farmers join the institutions that they join. Unless farmers can clearly see the gain from joining co‐operarive societies, all efforts of centralized public bureaucracies to round up farmers to join co‐operatives will be wasted. A further limitation of the exogenous approach is that farmers are being more or less coerced to join co‐operatives and other institutions against the background of an ideological vacuum, the absence of an explicit statement on the type of society that the country seeks to build, and little harmony between these organizations and the overall social milieu.

The second option, the endogenous demand side approach, seeks to utilize the strengths of existing rural institutions. Innovative programming is required to undertake an inventory of existing rural institutions such as age groups, guilds, women's associations, thrift societies; an analysis of the services that they render; their management structure; their conduct and performance; their funding, strengths, weaknesses, problems, and constraints, with a view to identifying ways of utilizing them for dissemination of new technology in production, processing, marketing, and credit, to mention a few. This option reaches the creative energies of rural people, using institutions that they can identify with and have confidence in. The notion that all rural Africa is waiting to be co‐operativized must be discarded in favour of rural institutional pluralism. To continue to blame the failure of exogenously introduced institutions (e.g. co‐operatives) on financial scandals, poor management, etc. woefully fails to explain why existing rural institutions have not been similarly fatally plagued by such ills but rather have survived from year to year and from one generation to the next. The demand side approach here advocated stresses farmers' demands for the institutional forms they believe will service their interest best, not necessarily those promoted by public bureaucrats. Unless the endogenously inspired network of rural institutions is utilized, the benefits of public programmes will continue to flow to unintended beneficiaries.

6.4. Summary and conclusions

In the attempt to explain the stagnation and decline of sub‐Saharan African agriculture, four broad classes of problems and constraints were reviewed (section 6.2). First were those dealing with rural infrastructures. Second were those dealing with the generation and dissemination of new technology. Third were problems relating to harmful economic policies, including agricultural pricing policy. Special attention was paid to the vulnerability of agriculture to overvalued exchange rates. The fourth set of problems related to institutional arrangements and ambiguities which often result in overlapping functions, duplicated roles, and sterile institutional rivalry.

In many countries, there is a ‘parastatal syndrome’, the perennial desire of (p.230) policy makers to create a public parastatal almost as soon as a major problem emerges. These parastatals often serve as conduit pipes. Of fundamental importance here is the persistent ambiguity about the proper role of government in African agriculture. In most countries, government has simply assumed the wrong roles, often in competition with the private sector. There is urgent need for a shift of emphasis from these negative and ‘interventionist’ roles to the ‘positive’ role of the state in the form of provision of public services, food security, rural credit, productive infrastructure, etc. Other problems reviewed in section 6.2 include agricultural research and extension, rural roads, storage, rural electrification, irrigation, and the problem of centralized public bureaucracies trying to manipulate highly decentralized smallholder production systems.

A review of policy options must necessarily indicate priorities so that policy prescriptions can maintain a sharp focus. Proper sequencing of policy interventions ensures that the full benefits of dynamic—as opposed to static or contemporaneous—complementarities of policy instruments will be realized. A structuralist approach to Africa's food problems begins with the removal of the infrastructural bottlenecks: rural roads, rural markets, marketing infrastructures, rail–road network, potable water, rural health care facilities, primary schools, and rural electricity, to mention a few. The chapter emphasized the needs of the rural household as producer‐consumer for physical as well as social infrastructures. Without these, efforts to transform Africa's agriculture will have limited success.

Once the rural infrastructures are in place, Africa's rural economy will be in a position to adopt profitable new agricultural technologies. Sustained adoption of new technology, in turn, requires favourable economic incentives and policies. These include input and output pricing, exchange rates, interest rates, wages, monetary and fiscal policies.

Further, infrastructures, new technology, and a favourable economic environment will not produce the required transformation if the required institutions are not in place and if institutional pluralism leads to role ambiguities. Section 6.3 discussed a range of policy options relating to all these ingredients of a transformation of African agriculture, with sustained focus on the need to promote the food entitlements of the rural population (especially the vulnerable groups).

In maintaining a focus on policy as a main factor in the stagnation and decline of African agriculture, the question that needs to be answered is: why do agricultural policies tend to produce ‘unintended consequences’ and ‘unintended beneficiaries’? Why do observed policy mistakes persist from year to year, from one regime to another, from one development plan to another, and from country to country? The traditional (supply side) approach to perennial policy mistakes focuses on bureaucratic processes, inadequate budgetary allocations, infrastructural bottlenecks, etc. but fails to explain the persistence of these causal factors.

(p.231) This is what George Stigler, the Nobel Laureate, had to say on the matter:

To believe, year after year, decade after decade, that the protective tariffs or usury laws to be found in most lands are due to confusion rather than purposeful action is singularly obfuscatory. Mistakes are indeed made by the best of men and the best of nations, but after a century are we not entitled to question whether the so‐called ‘mistakes’ produce only unintended results? … Alternatively stated, a theory that says that a large set of persistent policies are mistaken is profoundly anti‐intellectual unless it is joined to a theory of mistakes. (Stigler 1982: 10)

What is required to understand the policy options facing African agriculture is a demand side approach which seeks to explain why policy makers do what they do. Who are the main policy participants as formulators and implementors? How do they relate to the various interest groups and the recurring class of ‘unintended beneficiaries’? Are the people often explicitly labelled as ‘unintended beneficiaries’ truly unintended? Or are they the ‘implicitly intended beneficiaries’ of food and agricultural policy? And what is the nature of social relationships between policy makers and the implicitly intended beneficiaries (explicit ‘unintended beneficiaries’) as opposed to the explicitly intended beneficiaries? These questions take us far into theory of pressure groups, self‐interest, altruism, and coalition, an area we cannot develop in this chapter.

  1. (a) Crop marketing

    1. 1. Nigerian Grains Board

    2. 2. Nigerian Cocoa Board

    3. 3. Nigerian Palm Produce Board

    4. 4. Nigerian Rubber Board

    5. 5. Nigerian Cotton Board

    6. 6. Nigerian Groundnut Board

  2. (b) Agricultural production

    1. 7. Nigerian Grains Production Company

    2. 8. Nigerian Beverages Production Company

    3. 9. Nigerian Rootcrops Production Company

    4. 10. Naiwa Mechanized Farms Ltd.

    5. 11. Nigerian Dairies Company Ltd.

    6. 12. Nigerian Poultry Production

    7. 13. Madara Company

    8. 14. National Livestock Production Company

    9. 15. Nigerian Food Company

    10. (p.232) 16. Bauchi Meat Company

  3. (c) Agricultural credit and input supplies

    1. 17. Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank

    2. 18. National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization

    3. 19. National Animal Feeds Company

  4. (d) River Basin Development Authorities

    1. 20. Anambra‐Imo River Basin Development Authority

    2. 21. Benin‐Owena River Basin Development Authority

    3. 22. Chad Basin Development Authority

    4. 23. Cross River Development Authority

    5. 24. Hadejia‐Jama'are River Basin Development Authority

    6. 25. Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority

    7. 26. Niger Delta River Basin Development Authority

    8. 27. Niger River Basin Development Authority

    9. 28. Ogun‐Oshun River Basin Development Authority

    10. 29. Sokoto‐Rima River Basin Development Authority

    11. 30. Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority

  5. (e) Agricultural research institutes

    1. 31. Institute for Agricultural Research, Samaru, Zaria

    2. 32. Kainji Lake Research Institute

    3. 33. Forestry Lake Research Institute

    4. 34. Leather Research Institute

    5. 35. National Cereals Research Institute

    6. 36. Lake Chad Research Institute

    7. 37. National Veterinary Research Institute

    8. 38. Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute

    9. 39. Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria

    10. 40. Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research

    11. 41. Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research

    12. 42. Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research

    13. 43. National Root Crops Research Institute

    14. 44. National Horticultural Research Institute

    15. 45. Agricultural Research and Extension Liaison Service

    16. 46. National Animal Production Research Institute

    17. 47. Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria

    18. 48. Institute of Agricultural Research and Training

  6. (f) Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs)

    1. 49. Gongola State Integrated ADP

    2. 50. Mambilla Plateau Integrated ADP

    3. 51. Lagos State Integrated ADP

    4. 52. Accelerated Development Area Project

    5. 53. Ayangba ADP

    6. 54. Lafia ADP

    7. 55. Bida ADP

    8. 56. Ilorin ADP

    9. 57. Ekiti‐Akoko ADP

    10. 58. Oyo‐North ADP

    11. 59. Ogun ADP

    12. (p.233) 60. Kaduna ADP

    13. 61. Sokoto ADP

    14. 62. Bauchi ADP

    15. 63. Kano ADP

    16. 64. Anambra ADP

    17. 65. Bendel ADP

    18. 66. Borno ADP

    19. 67. Cross River ADP

    20. 68. Imo ADP

    21. 69. Rivers ADP

  7. (g) Others

    1. 70. Nigerian Institute for Water Resources

    2. 71. Bendel State World Bank Assisted Third Cocoa Project

    3. 72. Ondo State World Bank Assisted Third Cocoa Project

    4. 73. Oyo State World Bank Assisted Third Cocoa Project

    5. 74. IBRD Assisted Bendel State Nucleus Estate, Small Holder Oil Palm Project

    6. 75. IBRD Assisted Oil Palm Project, Imo State

    7. 76. IBRD Agricultural Technical Assistance Project

Note: Practically all parastatals in categories (a), (b), (c) (d), and (e) are wholly owned by the federal government. Most of the parastatals in (f) and (g) are jointly owned with the states. Parastatals wholly owned by the 19 state governments are excluded from the list.

(p.234) References

Bibliography references:

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Anthonio, Q. B. O. (1983), Recipe for Developing Nigerian Agriculture: Improved Agricultural Marketing for Economic Development in Nigeria (University Lectures, University of Ibadan, 1983/4).

Arndt, T. M., Dalrymple, D. G., and Ruttan, V. M. (eds.) (1977), Resource Allocation and Productivity in National and International Agricultural Research (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press).

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Eicher, C. K. (1982), ‘Facing up to Africa's Food Crisis’, Foreign Affairs, Fall.

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Falusi, A. O., and Williams, L. B. (1981), ‘Nigeria Fertilizer Sector: Present Situation and Future Prospects’, IFDC Technical Bulletin 18 (International Development Centre).

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Idachaba, F. S. (1974), ‘Policy Distortions, Subsidies and African Rural Employment Creation: A Second Best Approach’, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 29/2.

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I thank Glenn L. Johnson and Amartya Sen for encouragement and Jean Drèze for painstaking editiorial work.

(1) For further discussion of some of these trends, see e.g. World Bank (1981, 1986a). See also the contribution by Jean‐Philippe Platteau in the second volume of this book.

(2) The IDS group (IDS 1983) accuses the World Bank position (World Bank 1981) of dressing up ideological neo‐liberalism in technical terms. While the World Bank cannot deny a world‐view or the fact that authors and reviewers of Bank publications have value systems, the IDS group is guilty of the same offence: they too have a world‐view and a thinly veiled ideological position on the role of the state vis‐à‐vis the role of market forces.

(3) For an earlier treatment, see Wharton (1967). For a comprehensive survey of rural infrastructures in Nigeria, see Idachaba (1985).

(4) The policy response to the food entitlement collapse accompanying the Sahelian drought of 1973/4 was to mount a major national effort in national water resources development. Several related policy issues are discussed in Idachaba (1982).

(5) The Niger Delta Basin Development Authority was subsequently created to bring the total number of RBDAs to 11.

(6) For a statement of some allocative working rules, see Fishel (1971), Arndt et al. (1977), and Idachaba (1980, 1981b, 1987).

(7) One problem that can only be mentioned here is frequent changes in the macroinstitutional arrangements for managing the national agricultural research system. Nigeria has experimented with virtually all forms: Ministry of Agriculture model, Agricultural Research Council model, Ministry of Science and Technology model, etc. For details on the negative consequences for the national research system, see Idachaba (1987).

(8) For an illuminating and comprehensive study, see Johnson et al. (1969).

(9) The issue raised by the positive fiscal role of crop taxes will be addressed in section 6.3.

(10) This was because all fertilizer importation and procurement was centralized in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture as from 1976, that is, there was no fertilizer procurement, sale, or distribution through private channels during 1976–86. For further details, see Falusi and Williams (1981).

(11) Tanzania, which witnessed many changes in policy in spite of political stability, is an exception to the general case.

(12) In seven recently launched state‐wide World Bank‐assisted Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) in Nigeria, the World Bank was vehemently opposed to the construction of new rural feeder roads.

(13) On this question, see also the contribution by Jean‐Philippe Platteau in the second volume of this book.

(14) For a comprehensive analysis, see Pingali et al. (1985).

(15) The omission of marketing and storage programmes in the ADPs is consistent with what appears to be the World Bank's world‐view—that these are best left to the private sector (World Bank 1981).

(16) See Idachaba (1974).

(17) See Idachaba (1976).

(18) Several African countries (Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, etc.) are experimenting with second‐tier foreign exchange markets. The same prerequisites for successful devaluation apply.

(19) See the discussion in IDS (1983, 1985).