Combined approaches to agricultural productivity: Evidence from Ethiopia


Published 23.02.22
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Building roads and extending agriculture services to rural Ethiopian communities had no impact alone, but increased agricultural productivity together

Read “Rural roads, agricultural extension, and productivity” by Mesay Gebresilasse here.

As agriculture employs a majority share of the population in many developing countries, significant policy focus has gone to improving agricultural productivity to boost economic growth. However, while many isolated interventions aimed at increasing productivity have produced mixed results, new research explores how overlapping interventions can unlock greater benefits than witnessed independently. In this VoxDevTalk, Mesay Gebresilasse discusses his recent work in Ethiopia examining the impacts from complementarities between two independent government programmes – an agricultural extension programme and a rural roads network programme.

He finds that while neither programme had an impact independently, when combined, complementarities arose that boosted agricultural productivity. In villages with access to roads and agricultural extension services, the benefits gained from adopting modern farm inputs or greater access to credit paid off through greater road access to markets to sell goods and produce. These results highlight how rural communities face numerous deprivations that are difficult to tackle in isolation, and that integrated policy measures to improve outcomes like agricultural productivity can be strengthened when coordinated with multiple approaches.