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Agriculture in Africa: telling facts from myths (Inglês)

This book is the outcome of stylized facts set agendas and shape debates. In rapidly changing and data-scarce environments, they also risk being ill-informed, outdated, and misleading. Following higher food prices since the 2008 world food crisis, robust economic growth and rapid urbanization, and climatic change, is conventional wisdom about African agriculture and rural livelihoods still accurate? Or is it more akin to myth than fact? The essays in Agriculture in Africa: Telling Myths from Facts aim to set the record straight. They leverage newly gathered, nationally representative, geo referenced information, at the household and plot level, from six African countries. These data from the Living Standards Measurement Study—Integrated Surveys on Agriculture help query every aspect of farming and non farming life—ranging from the plots farmers cultivate, the crops they grow, the harvest that is achieved, and the inputs they use, to the other sources of income they rely on and the risks they face. Together, the surveys cover more than 40 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population. In all, 16 points of conventional wisdom are examined, relating to four themes: the extent of farmer engagement in input, factor, and product markets; the role of off-farm activities; the technology and farming systems used; and the risks farmers face. Some striking surprises, in true myth-busting fashion, emerge. And a number of new issues are identified. The studies bring a more refined, empirically grounded understanding of the complex reality of African agriculture. They also confirm that investing in regular, nationally representative data collection yields high social returns.

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