Agriculture Development, Employment Generation and Poverty Reduction in West Africa
Romanus Osabohien*, Oluwatoyin Matthew, Obindah Gershon, Toun Ogunbiyi, Ebere Nwosu
The problem of poverty eradication has been limited to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, which accounts for more than 40% of the world's poor population. The majority of these people are rural farmers who depend solely on agriculture for livelihood. Agriculture in West Africa remains the largest means of employment in which more than 60% of the sub-region’s active labour force is involved.
This study examined the potentials of agriculture to generate employment for the people, thereby reducing the level of poverty in West Africa.
The Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) econometric technique was employed in this study for the panel data covering the period of 17 years (2000 to 2016).
Results from the study showed that agriculture provides the opportunity for the poor to increase their earnings to escape the poverty trap, whether the poor can seize these agricultural opportunities depends on their human capital development.
The study, therefore, concluded that effective policies (eg social protection) should be formulated in the agricultural development plans that will prioritize sustainable land and water management, access to markets, and the food security. To achieve this, the use of modern methods should be encouraged through farm incentives to boost agricultural production and increase farmer’s income which is earned through the sale of agricultural commodities, and thus; in the long run, increase the revenue accruing to the government and reduce the rate of poverty.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Economics and Development Studies, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria; Tel: +2348064545217; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org