African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6691


Addressing the information problem in agriculture via agrobiodiversity: Streamlining the issues, challenges and policy questions

Edilegnaw Wale    
Discipline of Agricultural Economics, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal,Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 June 2012
  •  Published: 07 August 2012


The purpose of this paper is to show how agrobiodiversity addresses the inherent information problem that agriculture faces and present the issues, challenges and policy questions that need to be addressed to undertake rural development and maintain agrobiodiversity. It has been shown that ex-situ and in-situstrategies address the different aspects of the information problem in agriculture and farmers’ bounded rationality. The various strategies have to, therefore, be taken as a continuum of complementary policy decisions producing different services to society with partly different and partly mutually non-exclusive outcomes. Given that the conservation outcomes, the institutional/technology demands and livelihood impacts are different, presenting the strategies as a choice is as misleading as comparing them with respect to costs, benefits, and (in)accessibility. The size of investment in each conservation strategy essentially depends on the type of genetic materials to be maintained, the level of de facto conservation by farmers, the prevailing institutions, the opportunity costs faced, the country’s resource endowment and the level of technological progress.


Key words: Agrobiodiversity, agricultural information problem, bounded rationality, conservation strategies.