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African agricultural economists see structural transformation challenges

Agricultural economists have identified climate change, lack of access to technology and markets, affordable finance, investment policy uncertainties, as well as gender inequality among the key factors against improved agricultural productivity on the African continent.

In a statement, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said these factors were discussed during the recent Structural Transformation of the African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) workshop it hosted in Abidjan.

“Organised by the Macroeconomics Policy, Forecasting, and Research Department of the African Development Bank and Cornell University, the workshop brought together top tier and emerging young researchers from Africa and around the world to discuss recent developments in policy-relevant agricultural research and the understand the policy implications for the transformation of Africa’s agriculture.

“The workshop was a broad STAARS project that links the role of knowledge to the bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. Participants gained enhanced awareness of the role of agriculture in Africa’s development and structural rural transformation and how research can shape agriculture policy in Africa.”

The participants also stressed the need for agricultural transformation to achieve food security and development. They also called for increased agricultural investments, the promotion of innovation, as well as improvement of synergies between agricultural knowledge-generation systems and development interventions and policies.

“The majority of presenters were young STAARS research fellows who highlighted the key factors which could improve agricultural productivity and speed up the transformation of the sector in Africa. The panellists also emphasised the urgent need to diversify farmers’ revenues, promote innovative financing and increase the adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies,” the bank said.

Topics relating to the micro-foundations of structural transformation in Africa using high quality, nationally representative and publicly available datasets like the Living Standards Measurement Studies – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), were covered during plenary sessions.

The banks said hosting the workshop reflected its commitment to leadership in pushing forward the transformation agenda in African agriculture and development in rural spaces.

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