Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 1/11

Fundamentals of African Agriculture

Theo Rauch
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


During the past decades farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa had been prevented from making more intensive use of their mostly under-utilised production potentials by unattractive prices and market conditions, which in many countries were reinforced by a less than conducive policy environment. At the same time, there were no sufficient opportunities outside agriculture to allow rural families to give up their subsistence production. Now, as agricultural prices tend to rise with a long-term perspective, while natural conditions tend to deteriorate, African farmers (and policies) are facing both incentives and a pressure for intensification of their production systems. However, most small-scale farmers, having been forced to get involved in diversified, multi-locational rural-urban livelihood systems, are not well-prepared to respond flexibly to the new conditions. Based on this assessment, this article concludes by emphasising the necessity to support a new, albeit alternative (i.e. context-specific), ‘Green Revolution’ for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: agricultural policy, agricultural development, rural development, Africa

JEL: Q 18, O 13, N 57

Vol. 50 (2011), No. 1: 9-27