M. A. Shittu, O. F. Ashaolu, B. B. Phillip


This paper examined the patterns and determinants of agricultural labour productivity among countries in West African sub-region over the period 1970 – 2004. The study was based on panel data extracted from FAOSTAT, the online statistical database of the Food and Agriculture Organisation as well as the database of United Nations Statistics Division and the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia CD-ROM. The data were analyzed by a combination of descriptive and regression methods. The study revealed that eight (8) of the sixteen (16) West African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Senegal and Togo) had average labour productivities that were lower during the 2000-2004 period than the average they stated with during the 1970s. The West-African average labour productivity ranged between 484.72 and 536.52 from 1970 to 2004. Regression analyses revealed that agricultural labour productivity among countries in the sub-region would rise with increase in literacy rates, increase in capital formation (savings), increase in rates of fertilizer and tractor use as well as increase in proportion of agricultural land put under irrigation (p<0.01). However, periods of military rule and civilian dictatorship (one party state) were identified as being associated with significantly lower agricultural labour productivity in the sub-region. It is recommended that Governments in West Africa should intensify their efforts in providing basic education to their people as well as providing support for increased private sector participation in the procurement and distribution of critical inputs like fertilizer, tractors services, etc.



Agriculture, Labour Productivity, Poverty, Savings, Literacy, West Africa.

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