Prioritising agriculture-related research and innovation for growth and poverty reduction in Rwanda

Agricultural research and development (R&D) has been found to be a powerful engine for poverty reduction worldwide. Based on experience in other countries, it seems likely that raising investment in agricultural from around 0.44 percent of agricultural GDP to the African Union target of 1 percent of agricultural GDP might increase agricultural productivity by around 50 percent. Such an increase in agricultural productivity could result in a decline in poverty of around 12 percentage points, from its current level of over 50 percent, with slightly larger poverty reduction gains for farmers than for other groups.

For achieving such a goal, the allocation of research resources across commodities is an important question. If resources are allocated across commodities in line with their poverty-reduction impact, the poverty reduction gains are likely around twice as high as if they are allocated uniformly across commodities. In the specific context of Rwanda, it appears that allocating them in line with the value of output would give almost as large a gain as targeting their much-harder-to-evaluate poverty-reduction benefit.