The impact of public agricultural investment on food security and nutrition in ECOWAS
Kamenya, Madalitso A.
African Economic Research Consortium
Public agriculture expenditure is an important growth catalyst. According to Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and its Malabo Declaration, a 10% increase in public expenditure in agriculture should stimulate a 6% productivity growth in agriculture, leading to widespread development benefits including improving food security and nutrition. However, evaluation of the impact of public agriculture expenditure on food security and nutrition remains scanty. This study evaluated the impact of public agriculture expenditure on food security and nutrition using panel data of nine ECOWAS countries, which are Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. This was achieved by evaluating the trends of public agriculture expenditure and food security and nutrition in the nine countries between the year 2000 and 2017. Further, assessing the impact of public agricultural expenditure on food security and nutrition using panel data from 2000 and 2016, controlling for other factors that affect food security and nutrition at the national level. The trends revealed that public expenditure has improved in the nine ECOWAS countries as several countries have met the Comprehensive African Agriculture Programme’s target of investing at least 10% of the national budget on the agricultural sector in several years. Likewise, food supply has improved and the levels of undernourishment has reduced. However, stunting, underweight and wasting are still high in these nine countries. Using the fixed effect generalised least squares model, it was found that a one-unit increase in public agriculture expenditure reduced undernourishment and improved average dietary energy supply adequacy each by 0.2%. The study concluded that public agriculture expenditure had an impact on food security. However, the impact may lag depending on the type of expenditure on agriculture. The study recommended disaggregating public expenditure data to isolate their impact. The analysis could be conducted in the design of national food security investment plans and to help identify strategies to accelerate improvements in food security and nutrition in African countries.
ECOWAS, Public agricultural expenditure, food security and nutrition, panel data method, fixed effect generalised least squares model