The Impact of Agricultural Trade Liberalization on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity Growth in Africa

Regret Sunge, Nicholas Ngepah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the impact of agricultural trade liberalization on agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Africa using panel data for 13 countries from 2005 to 2016. Our contribution is two-fold. Firstly, we analyse the impact of domestic agriculture support in the spirit of the Agreement on Agriculture. Secondly, we draw attention to the South–South versus South–North debate to the agriculture sector. We examine the impact of trade by source, split between trade within and outside Africa. We compute TFP growth for maize and rice using the Malmquist-data envelopment analysis approach. We then use the dynamic fixed effects approach to estimate panel auto-regressive-distributed-lag models. TFP computations show falling growth rates for both maize and rice. Evidence suggests that domestic agriculture support measures have positive output effects but negative productivity effects. We find that reducing trade-distorting agriculture support coupled with good governance significantly increases TFP growth. Accordingly, we appeal that domestic agriculture support is refocused from producer payments to infrastructure development. Furthermore, we document that South–South trade productivity gains match and can surpass South-North Trade. Hence we emphasize increasing intra-Africa agriculture trade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-598
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Economic Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Agricultural trade liberalization
  • agricultural total factor productivity
  • domestic agricultural support
  • panel auto-regressive-distributed-lag model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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