For African agricultural productivity to improve, governments and donors must invest in programs and policies that will improve the incentives and capacity of farmers to make investments that increase farm productivity and soil fertility while protecting the environment. With rapid population growth, agriculture must rapidly intensity if African farmers are to meet the rapid growth in the demand for food and fiber. Recent case studies demonstrate the incentives and capacity to invest in more intensive cropping technologies have declined during the last decade Good macroeconomic policies are necessary by not sufficient. Even after overvalued currencies are devalued and markets are liberalized, there remain major policy and structural constraints to farmer investment. Identifying cost-effective ways to increase the farmer's incentive and capacity to use chemical fertilizer, organic matter, improved seed, and equipment is crucial. Recent case studies of input use and investment patterns examine successes and failures, and suggest how governments and donors can improve farmers' incentives and capacity for agricultural productivity and resource conservation investments.