New Directions for African Agriculture

Published on 1 January 2009

Most of Africa’s poor are rural, and most rely largely on agriculture for their livelihoods. But African agriculture is slow-growing or stagnating, held back by low yields, poor infrastructure, environmental change, HIV/AIDS and civil conflict. However, this sweeping picture hides some important success stories. we need to ask why agriculture is contributing to poverty reduction in some places but not all.

This IDS Policy Briefing highlights how social, cultural and political relations shape agricultural production, patterns of investment, the uptake of technologies and the functioning of agricultural markets. New solutions for African agriculture will be successful only if they focus on understanding and influencing processes of innovation, intervention and policy, not just their technical content. Such an approach needs to be rooted in context-specific analysis, allowing for scenarios and options to be elaborated and debated by the multiple stakeholders involved in the future of African agriculture.


Lawrence Haddad

Honorary Associate

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Publication details

published by
Haddad, L. and Scoones, I.
IDS Policy Briefing, issue 24


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