Primary commodity dependence and agricultural diversification : the role of organic agriculture in trade and the implications for food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is marginalised in the world economy and lags behind other developing regions in world trade. This is attributable to sub-Saharan Africa's inability to industrialise and diversify its exports base. Sub-Saharan Africa is still largely dependent on the exports of primary commodities, and agriculture is a vital export sector for many Sub-Saharan African economies with the majority of their exports reliant on traditional commodities. Most countries in the sub-Saharan African region have low levels of agricultural output and food security problems. Against this background, this study first discusses the problems associated with primary commodity dependence and then examines the need and economic rationale for sub-Saharan Africa to diversify its exports from agriculture into other sectors. From this, it follows that, diversifying agricultural production and exports into organic produce could be one way to create a more sustainable development path for sub-Saharan African trade and food security. With this in mind, this study discusses the economic viability, including the policy considerations, for organic product diversification in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, to ascertain the empirical position of this study, a statistical assessment of the supply-side food security situation in three sub-Saharan African major organic converters and exporters (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) is presented. The empirical results indicate that among the three countries, considering data trends and variances, Uganda's food security outlook is the most optimistic.