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Working Paper 234 - The Unintended Consequences of Agricultural Input Intensification: Human Health Implications of Agro-chemical use in Sub-Saharan Africa


Modern agricultural inputs – like inorganic fertilizer and agro-chemicals – potentially help farmers boost productivity significantly, a goal critical to structural transformation and poverty reduction, particularly in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Recent panel data analysis, for example, identifies a strong causal relationship between the use of modern agricultural inputs and crop yields and, subsequently, yields and economic growth (McArthur and McCord 2014). While this link has long been well-theorized in the agricultural development literature (Johnson, Hazell, Gulati 2003; Johnston and Mellor 1961; Schultz 1964), this new empirical evidence elevates the importance of focusing on the drivers of agricultural productivity growth as a prerequisite for structural change in SSA and elsewhere.

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