Agricultural trade liberalization, regional trade agreements and agricultural technical efficiency in Africa

Regret Sunge, Nicholas Ngepah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Despite increased agricultural trade liberalization, high productive inefficiency in agriculture has kept Africa as a net importer of agriculture products. Empirical studies have focused on the trade liberalization–productivity growth nexus and overlooked the efficiency linkage. Also the role of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and institutions in reducing inefficiency in agriculture have been sidelined. We use a stochastic frontier approach and single-stage maximum likelihood estimation of a true fixed-effects panel data model for our analysis. Using maize and rice data, we provide evidence that through technology transfer, agricultural trade statistically improves technical efficiency. Moreover, results suggest that RTAs provide favourable technical efficiency effects, which varies across products and membership. Furthermore, we document that while regulatory quality reduces technical inefficiency, control of corruption increases it. Our findings call for increased role of RTAs in promoting agricultural trade liberalization. This should be complemented by further strengthening of institutions involved in the agriculture value chain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalOutlook on Agriculture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Agricultural trade liberalization
  • maximum likelihood estimation
  • regional trade agreements
  • stochastic frontier analysis
  • technical efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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