African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6863

Full Length Research Paper

Agriculture in sub-Sahara Africa developing countries and the role of government: Economic perspectives

Patrick Kanza
  • Patrick Kanza
  • College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States.
  • Google Scholar
Jeffrey Vitale
  • Jeffrey Vitale
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, 418 Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Pilja Park Vitale
  • Pilja Park Vitale
  • Division of Business, Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa, OK 74653, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 February 2022
  •  Accepted: 25 May 2022
  •  Published: 31 July 2022


Recent agricultural and economic growth has been impressive in sub Saharan Africa (SSA), and explained in part by decades of donor investments. Sustaining recent progress will hence require a fundamental reshaping of SSA host country government policy priorities, which traditionally underinvest in agricultural research. This article investigates country-specific factors that explain government’s tendencies towards policy bias across three important policy dimensions: cash versus food crops, imports versus exports, and agriculture versus non-agriculture sectors. Policy bias was measured using rates of assistance indices across the three policy dimensions based on panel data, from 26 years (1955-2011) and across 26 SSA countries. Results indicate that overall policy orientation of SSA governments are biased against agriculture, but within the specific policy dimensions there was a significant bias towards cash over food crops and exports over imports. The result also shows the level of government assistance in resource rich countries decreased as rural population share increased above 57%.

Key words: Agriculture assistance, sub Saharan Africa, policy bias, trade bias index.