Sowing the Seeds of Success: The Case for Public Investment in African Smallholder Agriculture

Report for ActionAid-USA (August 2014)

There is an intense debate in development policy-making circles concerning what investments are needed to increase farm productivity in Africa. Donors and some African governments are increasingly turning towards the private sector, or Public-Private Partnerships, to provide investments, with such models seen not only as complements, but sometimes as alternatives, to increased public spending. This report reviews the literature on public and private investment in agriculture and argues in favour of increasing public resources to support smallholder farming in Africa. It analyses current (low) levels of public investment, gives reasons why public investment can be effective and outlines ten key ways in which public investment should be promoted to benefit small farmers.

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