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Cash crops reduce the welfare of farm households in Senegal

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    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the first two decades of independence, agricultural policy was interventionist but, later, the state has gradually withdrawn in favor of structural adjustment policies.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).

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Correspondence to Mahamadou Roufahi Tankari.

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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

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Keywords

  • Agricultural policy
  • Poverty
  • Food crops
  • Quantiles regression
  • Endogeneity
  • Senegal