We discuss recent trends in agricultural productivity in Africa and highlight how technological progress in agriculture has stagnated on the continent. We briefly review the literature that tries to explain this stagnation through the lens of particular constraints to technology adoption. Ultimately, none of these constraints alone can explain these trends. New research highlights pervasive heterogeneity in the gross and net returns to agricultural technologies across Africa. We argue that this heterogeneity makes the adoption process more challenging, limits the scope of many innovations, and contributes to the stagnation in technology use. We conclude with directions for policy and what we feel are still important, unanswered research questions.
Presentation of key takeaways:
For our launch event, Tavneet Suri and Chris Udry joined us to outline the key takeaways from this VoxDevLit, highlighting policy relevant results from recent research on agricultural technology in Africa.