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Economic research on rice farming in West Africa at WARDA

Lançon F., Erenstein O.C.A., Touré A.A.. 2002. In : Sakurai Takeshi (ed.), Furuya J. (ed.), Takagi H. (ed.). Economic analyses of agricultural technologies and rural institutions in West Africa - achievements, challenges and application to rice farming research : Proceedings of JIRCAS International Workshop, 12-13 July, 2001, Tsukuba, Japan. Tsukuba : JIRCAS, p. 3-16. (JIRCAS Working Report, 25). JIRCAS International Workshop, 2001-07-12/2001-07-13, Tsukuba (Japon).

With competition increasing in the West African rice sector, the economic viability of technical innovations is becoming a crucial issue. The economic setting in which farmers are making decisions is a major determinant of the adoption or non-adoption of new technology. Thus, economics research has an increasing role in the implementation of the research agenda of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA). Economists started to look at farmers' characteristics, and plant attributes that determine the adoption or non-adoption of improved technologies. Micro-economic analysis was further extended to assess farmers' efficiency in resource allocation, to derive recommendation for an optimal use of production factors. Structural reforms of the West African economies conferred an increasing role of the macro-economic, institutional and market environments in farmers' decision-making. WARDA has accordingly gradually expanded its economics research agenda to assess the influence of these policy changes on rice farmers' competitiveness. Management of common resources and market linkages are becoming key areas for the sustainable intensification of rice-based systems. Beyond the immediate increase of agricultural productivity, agricultural research is expected to improve rural population welfare. Through a farming-system approach centered on participatory research techniques, WARDA economists aim to assess the impact of rice technology adoption on the entire rural livelihood. Economics research contributes to the efficiency of agricultural research by focusing research objectives on farmers' constraints, enhancing the sustainability of proposed technologies, and indicating required policy changes and priority areas. WARDA's program structure has evolved to integrate economics research and long-term capitalization of economics expertise within the whole research agenda.

Mots-clés : oryza; riz; innovation; prise de décision; recherche; adoption de l'innovation; politique économique; environnement socioéconomique; productivité; système de culture; exploitation agricole; système de production; afrique occidentale

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