Skip to Main Navigation

Improving cash crops in Africa : factors influencing the productivity of cotton, coffee, and tea grown by smallholders (English)

This study draws together information on the technology available to small-scale farmers in Africa for the production of cotton, coffee and tea. It records the wide variation in the national average yields of these crops, as well as the differences in productivity that exist between smallholders and commercial growers in the same country. A recurring theme in the paper is that, unlike food crops, which have to be produced for survival irrespective of government interventions, yields of these cash crops are heavily dependent upon government policies and management capacity. These range from the restriction of the growing of cotton to the most favored areas in one country as compared to its encouragement in depressed marginal areas in another, to taxation, exchange rate, subsidy and input-supply policies. Technology suited to the needs of the small-scale farmer has been well developed for these crops and, although labor constraints account for the lack of adoption of some of the yield-enhancing practices, it is often inimical government strategies or failures in public-sector management that have removed the incentives for their uptake. One conclusion of the study is that any projects intended to encourage increased efficiency of production or greater yields per unit of land should first focus on whether there are policy changes that must precede the wider uptake of the available intensifying technology. This paper has been produced as a ready-reference work for agriculturalists and economists responsible for planning, executing or supervising activities relating to these crops in sub-Saharan Africa. It covers the influence of planting material, agronomic practices and purchased inputs on yields, and details some of the constraints that inhibit their use. It highlights the impact that research has had on providing the means for raising productivity but also points out that extension staff must be prepared to look at the entire family-farming operation, as well as its constraints and goals, if farmers are to receive appropriate and applicable advice on these specific crops.


  • Author

    Carr, Stephen J.

  • Document Date


  • Document Type


  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region


  • Disclosure Date


  • Doc Name

    Improving cash crops in Africa : factors influencing the productivity of cotton, coffee, and tea grown by smallholders

  • Keywords

    Crop;care needs;insect pest control;free movement of labor;early stage of development;policy on exchange rate;impact on crop yields;absence of control measures;impact on yield;staple food crop;seed cotton;production of cotton;Rule of Law;reliability of supply;source income;volume of water;source of income;national transport policy;cotton growing area;factor of production;adjustment of price;humid tropical areas;farmer decision making;degree of trust;terms of trade;skill and initiative;demand for labor;control of pests;degree and type;foreign exchange shortage;availability of water;loss of crop;remote rural area;area of plantation;food crop production;washing of hands;return to investment;unit of labor;unit labor;cotton yield;marketing system;export crop;cotton production;cotton crop;cash crop;farming practice;plant material;planting date;small-scale farmer;labor demand;population pressure;plant population;extension service;ecological zone;land preparation;heavily dependent;yield loss;marginal areas;insect control;average yield;cotton farmer;soil type;short period;cotton price;input use;soil acidity;planting time;chemical company;cotton plot;yield levels;acid soil;finger millet;experimental design;labor requirement;inflated price;grain crop;cotton plant;health hazard;natural factors;cotton producer;electric battery;weed problem;farm produce;fertilizer use;farmer uptake;field experience;production side;moisture conservation;cotton industry;long-term sustainability;research result;food supply;timely payment;nitrogenous fertilizer;farming conditions;wet season;young child;considerable difference;institutional management;Natural Resources;adequate water;geographical region;input subsidy;protective device;cotton pest;school fee;resistant strains;work load;institutional constraint;insecticidal spray;severely limits;private-sector participation;output subsidy;producer price;simple task;insecticide use;natural predator;cotton marketing;insect attack;survey data;food market;insecticidal use;draft power;institutional weakness;maize marketing;output price;rainfall area;fallow land;chemical industry;cotton seed;production input;food production;Child Mortality;life expectancy;international term;price differential;common strategies;agricultural area;increased security;marketing facility;chemical control;labor use;national policy;farm management;fungal disease;cloudy areas;alternative crop;long-term strategy;labor input;highland areas;production increase;price support;transport cost;subsidy policy;farm practice;coffee farmer;tail boom;marketing cost;procurement procedure;commercial farmer;marginal conditions;ecological areas;disadvantaged family;rainy season;coffee crop;farm productivity;transport industry;consumer good;consumer goods;total output;product area;crop development;soil fertility;wet tropics;semi-arid area;tree crop;basic food;export commodity;financial turmoil;Cash Income;agricultural production;increase productivity;agricultural sector;Agricultural Technology;social constraint;technological progress;productivity gain;management capacity;payment system;research priority;lake victoria;copyright notice;noncommercial purposes;classroom use;agricultural productivity;government intervention;research institute;Exchange Rates;government strategy;agronomic practice;produce trade;tropical disease;private-sector development;improved technologies;soil quality;synthetic pyrethroids;bare ground;heavy rain;mechanical weeding;sustainable solution;managerial decision;hand weeding;short supply;annual crop;weeding equipment;clay soil;



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Carr, Stephen J.

Improving cash crops in Africa : factors influencing the productivity of cotton, coffee, and tea grown by smallholders (English). World Bank technical paper ; no. WTP 216 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.