The production of cash crops is often seen as an effective way to fight poverty in developing countries. Using data from the Senegal poverty monitoring Survey II (ESPS II), this study assessed the impact of the production of cash crops on the welfare of farm households in Senegal. Since it is likely that cash cropping by a household was affected by the same unobserved factors that affect household welfare (defined as the nominal consumption expenditure per adult equivalent, converted into real terms by dividing it by the national poverty line), an instrumental variables approach that addressed the endogeneity of cash cropping was employed. An unconditional quantiles regression was also conducted to assess the impact of cash cropping on the distribution of farm households’ welfare. It appears that the production of cash crops (including groundnut, tomato, melons, banana, sesame, oil palm, apple cashew, cotton, citrus and jatropha), negatively impacts the welfare of farm households in Senegal, with a more pronounced effect on households with higher levels of welfare. Accordingly, the role assigned to the agricultural sector for poverty reduction in Senegal cannot mainly result from the production of cash crops at this stage of national development. Agricultural policies in Senegal must focus more on promoting food crops and on facilitating access to production assets within a political and economic framework that supports an efficient functioning of markets.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
During the first two decades of independence, agricultural policy was interventionist but, later, the state has gradually withdrawn in favor of structural adjustment policies. This withdrawal took place particularly through the New Agricultural Policy (NPA), which began implementation in 1984. However, the liberalization of the sector did not become effective until the late 1990s. From the 2000s, new guidelines have been successively defined, with the adoption in 2004 of the Agro-Silvo-Pastoral Act (LOASP) and its additional programs; in 2006, the plan for the Return to Agriculture (REVA); in 2008, the Great Agricultural Offensive for Food and Abundance (GOANA) was implemented in response to the global food crisis of 2007–2008; and in 2011, the National Agricultural Investment Program (NAIP).
Achterbosch, T. J., Van Berkum, S., & Meijerink, G. W. (2014). Cash crops and food security; contributions to income, livelihood risk and agricultural innovation. Report 2014–015. Wageningen: LEI.
Anderman, T. L., Remans, R., Wood, S. A., DeRosa, K., & DeFries, R. S. (2014). Synergies and tradeoffs between cash crop production and food security: a case study in rural Ghana. Food Security, 6(4), 541–554.
ANSD. (2013). Rapport définitif de la deuxième Enquête de Suivi de la Pauvreté au Sénégal (ESPS II). Dakar: Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD).
Arndt, C., Benfica, R., Tarp, F., Thurlow, J., & Uaiene, R. (2010). Biofuels, poverty, and growth: a computable general equilibrium analysis of Mozambique. Environment and Development Economics, 15(1), 81–105.
Boccanfuso, D., & Savard, L. (2008). Groundnut Sector Liberalization in Senegal: A Multi-household CGE Analysis. Oxford Development Studies, 36(2), 159–186.
Brück, T. (2004). The Welfare Effects of Farm Household Activity Choices in Post-War Mozambique, HICN Working Paper N° 04.
Cogneau, D., & Jedwab, R. (2012). Commodity price shocks and child outcomes: the 1990 cocoa crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 60(3), 507–534.
D’Alessandro, S., Fall, A.A., Grey, G., Simpkin, S., & Wane, A. (2015). Senegal agricultural sector risk assessment. Agriculture Global Practice Technical Assistance Paper, Number 96296-SN. World Bank: Washington DC.
Diao, X., Thurlow, J., Benin, S., & Fan, S. (2012). Strategies and priorities for african agriculture: economywide perspectives from country studies. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Dorward, A., Kydd, J., & Poulton, C. (1998). Smallholder cash crop production under market liberalization. New York: CAB International.
Due, J. M., & Gladwin, C. H. (1991). Impacts of structural adjustment programs on African women farmers and female-headed households. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 73(5), 1431–1439.
Dzanku, F. M., & Sarpong, D. (2011). Agricultural diversification, food self-sufficiency and food security in Ghana - the role of infrastructure and institutions. In G. Djurfeldt, E. Aryeetey, & A. Isinika (Eds.), African Smallholders - food crops, markets and policy. London: CAB International.
Fafchamps, M. (1992). Cash crop production, food price volatility, and rural market integration in the third world. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 74(1), 90–99.
Fall, A., Mbaye, B.B., & Sy, H. (2013). Politique Agricole, Productivité et Croissance à Long Terme au Sénégal. Document d’Etude No 25, DPEE, Dakar, Sénégal.
Firpo, S., Fortin, N., M., & Lemieux, T. (2009). Unconditional Quantile Regressions. Econometrica 77(3), 953–973.
Gladwin, C. H., Thomson, A. M., Peterson, J. S., & Anderson, A. S. (2001). Addressing food security in Africa via multiple livelihood strategies of women farmers. Food Policy, 26(2), 177–207.
Goetz, S. (1993). Interlinked markets and the cash crop-food crop debate in land-abundant tropical agriculture. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 41, 343–361.
Govereh, J., & Jayne, T. S. (2003). Cash cropping and food crop productivity: synergies or trade-offs? Agricultural Economics, 28, 39–50.
Grootaert, C. (1997). Determinants of poverty in Côte D’Ivoire in the 1980s. Journal of African Economies, 6(2), 169–206.
Harrigan, J. (2008). Food insecurity, poverty and the Malawian Starter Pack: Fresh start or false start? Food Policy, 33, 237–249.
Hayashi, F. (2000). Econometrics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Hoddinott, J., & Haddad, L. (1995). Does female income share influence household expenditures? Evidence from Côte D’Ivoire. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 57(1), 77–96.
Jones, S., & Gibbon, P. (2011). Developing agricultural markets in Sub-Saharan Africa: organic cocoa in rural Uganda. Journal of Development Studies, 47(10), 1595–1618.
Kassie, M., Shiferaw, B., & Muricho, G. (2011). Agricultural technology, crop income, and poverty alleviation in Uganda. World Development, 39(10), 1784–1795.
Kennedy, E., & Peters, P. (1992). Household food security and child nutrition: the interaction of income and gender of household head. World Development, 20(8), 1077–1085.
Kuma, T., Dereje, M., Hirvonen, K., & Minten, B. (2016). Cash crops and food security: Evidence from Ethiopian smallholder coffee producers. ESSP II Working Paper 95. Washington, DC and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Ethiopian Development Research Institute. http://ebrary.ifpri.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15738coll2/id/130717
Kurosaki, T. (2015). Vulnerability of household consumption to floods and droughts in developing countries: evidence from Pakistan. Environment and Development Economics, 20(2), 209–235.
Masanjala, W. H. (2006). Cash crop liberalization and poverty alleviation in Africa: evidence from Malawi. Agricultural Economics, 35, 231–240.
Maxwell, S., & Fernando, A. (1989). Cash crops in developing countries: the issues, the facts, the policies. World Development, 17(11), 1677–1708.
Mboup, M.K. (2004). Analyse de la compétitivité de la filière arachidière sénégalaise. Mémoire de DEA en Economie 59 p. Sénégal : Universite Cheikh Anta Diop De Dakar.
Minot, N. (2014). Food price volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa: has it really increased? Food Policy, 45, 45–56.
Mmbando, F. E., Wale, E. Z., & Baiyegunhi, L. J. S. (2015). Welfare impacts of smallholder farmers’ participation in maize and pigeonpea markets in Tanzania. Food Security, 7(6), 1211–1224.
Negash, M., & Swinnen, J. F. M. (2013). Biofuels and food security: micro-evidence from Ethiopia. Energy Policy, 61, 963–976.
OECD. (2013). Development cooperation report 2013 ending poverty. Paris: OECD.
Pierre-Louis, J. N., Sanjur, D., Nesheim, M. C., Bowman, D. D., & Mohammed, H. O. (2007). Maternal income-generating activities, child care, and child nutrition in Mali. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 28(1), 67–75.
Poulton, C., Dorward, A., & Kydd, J. (1998). The revival of smallholder cash crops in Africa: public and private roles in the provision of finance. Journal of International Development, 19(1), 85–103.
Poulton, C., Al-Hassan, R., Cadish, G., Reddy, C., & Smith, L. (2001). The cash crop versus food crop debate, issues paper-3, crop post-harvest programme. Wye Ashford: Imperial College, Department of Agricultural Economics.
Santi, E. (2014). Food prices on the rise in West Africa: need for urgent action. Available at https://www.afdb.org/en/blogs/measuring-the-pulse-of-economic-transformation-in-west-africa/post/food-prices-on-the-rise-in-west-africa-need-for-urgent-action-13375/ Accessed 1 Aug 2017.
Schneider, K., & Gugerty, M. K. (2010). The impact of export-driven cash crops on smallholder households. Evans school policy analysis and research. Brief No. 94. Seattle: The University of Washington.
Snapp, S. S., & Fisher, M. (2015). “Filling the maize basket” supports crop diversity and quality of household diet in Malawi. Food Security, 7(1), 83–96.
Stock, J.H, & Yogo, M. (2005). Testing for weak instruments in linear IV regression. In D.W. Andrews & J.H. Stock (Eds.). Identification and inference for econometric models: essays in honor of Thomas Rothenberg. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 80–108.
Terry, A., & Ryder, M. (2007). Improving food security in Swaziland: the transition from subsistence to communally managed cash cropping. Natural Resources Forum, 31(4), 263–272.
Thornhill, S., Vargyas, E., Fitzgerald, T., & Chisholm, N. (2016). Household food security and biofuel feedstock production in rural Mozambique and Tanzania. Food Security, 8(5), 953–971. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-016-0603-9.
Ulimwengu, J.M., Funes, J., Headey, D., & You, L. (2009). Paving the Way for Development: The Impact of Road Infrastructure on Agricultural Production and Household Wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo. IFPRI discussion papers N° 944. Washington DC, USA.
Von Braun, J. (1995). Agricultural commercialization: impacts on income and nutrition and implications for policy. Food Policy, 20(3), 187–202.
Von Braun, J., & Kennedy, E. (1986). Commercialization of subsistence agriculture: income and nutritional effects in developing countries. Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Von Braun, J., & Kennedy, E. (1994). Agricultural commercialization, economic development and nutrition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Wafula, N. G., Waswa, F., Maina, L., Naisiko, T., Masayi, N., & Ngaira, J. (2010). Agrobiodiversity endangered by sugarcane farming in Mumias and Nzoia sugarbelts of Western Kenya. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 4(7), 437–445.
Weber, M. T., Staatz, J. M., Crawford, E. W., Bernsten, R. H., & Holtzman, J. S. (1988). Informing food security decisions in Africa: empirical analysis and policy dialogue. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 70(5), 1044–1052.
Wiggins, S., Henley, G., & Keats, S. (2015). Competitive or complementary? Industrial crops and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. London: Overseas Development Institute.
Wood, B., Nelson, C., Kilic, C., & Murray, S. (2013). Up in smoke? Agricultural commercialization, rising food prices and stunting in Malawi. The World Bank policy research working paper series 6650. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2003). Introductory econometrics: a modern approach (2nd ed.). New York: Thomson Learning.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2015). Control function methods in applied econometrics. The Journal of Human Resources, 50, 420–445.
World Bank. (2008). Agriculture for development. World Development Report 2008. Washington DC: World Bank.
World Bank. (2012). Africa can help feed Africa: removing barriers to regional trade in food staples. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Zeller, M., & Sharma, M. (2000). Many borrow, more save, and all insure: implications for food and micro-finance policy. Food Policy, 25(2), 143–167.
Conflict of interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Tankari, M.R. Cash crops reduce the welfare of farm households in Senegal. Food Sec. 9, 1105–1115 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-017-0727-6
- Agricultural policy
- Food crops
- Quantiles regression