Despite continuous reforms and increased spending in the agricultural sector, Africa remains a net food importer. Previous research has argued that agricultural productivity is lower in Africa than in all other parts of the world due to challenging ecological conditions – soil fertility challenges and extreme climate. Increasing the region’s food supply requires significant increases in agricultural productivity, which in turn depends on investment in research and development (R&D). This study examines how climate variability (proxied by rainfall variability) affects agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) of maize in 14 sub-Saharan African countries (SSA). Maize farming in Africa – due to its significance in regional food production, evident climate variability, and the need to significantly increase efficiency – is an ideal region of investigation for climate impacts on maize production. We apply a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) on the Malmquist Productivity Index (MPI) to decompose productivity growth into technical efficiency and technological progress. In addition, a single-stage maximum-likelihood estimation of a true fixed effect was used to investigate how climate variability affects maize productivity through technical efficiency. The results show that climate variability has a negative effect on technical efficiency in the agricultural production of maize. Furthermore, increased spending on R&D is required to enhance technical efficiency and productivity.
climate change data envelopment analysis maize total factor productivity research and development technical efficiency