The Efficiency–-Equity Tradeoffs in Agricultural Research Priority Setting: The Potential Impacts of Agricultural Research on Economic Surplus and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria

Public agricultural research has come under increasing pressure to redefine its strategic priorities to contribute to poverty alleviation goals. However, the issue of whether the poor benefit more from agricultural research that pursues efficiency or equity objectives remains unresolved, largely due to lack of empirical evidence on the nature and magnitude of the efficiency–equity tradeoffs. This paper estimates the potential impacts of agricultural research on economic surplus and poverty reduction in Nigeria, identifies strategic priorities according to both efficiency and equity criteria, and examines the nature and magnitude of the efficiency–equity tradeoffs. The results show that there are no significant efficiency–equity tradeoffs because the rural poor in Nigeria depend mainly on the production of food staples for both consumption and household income. Although introducing a poverty dimension does not result in a significant shift in strategic priorities, greater benefits to the poor are possible through poverty-based targeting without compromising total benefits. However, efforts made towards the realization of potential benefits to the poor from pursuing either efficiency or equity objectives would be more important than mere targeting of research. Therefore, both agricultural research and support services, including extension, credit, input supply, and infrastructure, should be targeted to the poor to achieve poverty alleviation goals through agricultural research.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
I32; I38; O13; O32; Q16
Series Statement:
Contributed Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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