PEP publishes first STAARS findings and recommendations

July 2016

PEP publishes the first recommendations from the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) initiative to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.

Through the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) initiative, and in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Cornell Universitythe World Bank, and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), PEP promotes high quality research and capacity building for agricultural transformation as a key pathway to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.

In July 2016, PEP published the findings and policy recommendations from two STAARS projects: Non-farm employment, agricultural intensification and productivity change: Empirical findings from Uganda and Patterns of labor productivity and income diversification in the rural farm and non-farm sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The former study, based in Uganda, finds that the level of agricultural technology adoption amongst farmers in Uganda remains low, despite such technologies being encouraged as a means of increasing productivity. Furthermore, it is the poorest households in rural Uganda that are the most reliant on income diversification. The results of the study highlight the negative tradeoffs between non-farm employment, agricultural intensification and productivity change. Based on these results, the authors recommend that policies aim to reduce these potential tradeoffs so that some income from non-farm sources can be re-invested in farm productivity-enhancing innovations. Find out more about this study in Policy Brief 142.

The latter study, looking more generally at sub-Saharan Africa, found evidence of an underemployment gap in the farm sector relative to the non-farm sector as well as negative effects on diversification into non-farm activities due to higher returns in staple or high value crops. The findings from this study suggest that increased labor productivity in the non-farm sector could be key for structural economic transformation with workers in the farm sector able to increase their productivity by allocating some of their time to non-farm activities. Based on these results, the authors recommend that policies be put in place to improve productivity growth in farming activities (where the largest share of the workforce and the poor are concentrated) and improve education and market infrastructure to reduce unemployment and underemployment. Find out more about this study in Policy Brief 143.

For more information about STAARS, visit the initiative’s webpage.

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