Measuring the effectiveness of agricultural R&D in Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspectives of varietal output and adoption uri icon


  • Information on varietal output, adoption, and change is critical to measuring and improving the effectiveness of agricultural research in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the late-1990s, modern varieties accounted for only about 20?25 percent of growing area of most primary food crops across SSA. Drawing on initial outcomes from the Diffusion of Improved Varieties in Africa (DIVA) Project?s assessment of recent changes in varietal output and adoption, this paper documents considerable dynamism between the late-1990s and 2010 for several crops and many countries. Pairwise comparisons between the two periods for the same crop and country observation are largely characterized by positive change in both the rate of varietal release and the level of farmer adoption. Gains are noteworthy in maize in West and Africa and in cassava in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and in Nigeria in particular. Offsetting these positive developments were findings that two large problems related to varietal adoption and scientific staffing are still unresolved: progress in the uptake of modern coarse cereal and groundnut cultivars in the dominant-producing countries could, at best, be characterized as slow, and small countries continue to overinvest in ineffective agricultural research on small commodities

publication date

  • 2011