Two Papers Evaluating the Economic Impact of Agricultural Innovation
While extensive research has been carried out to examine the yield growth brought about by innovations in agricultural technology, not enough work has been done to document the economic impacts of these innovations on areas besides yields and income. This study presents two papers which contribute to our understanding of the health and environmental impacts of agricultural innovation, "Expected economic benefits of meeting nutritional needs through biofortified cassava in Nigeria and Kenya," and "Projected farm-level impacts on income of conservation agriculture in the Andean Region." The first paper is motivated by the public health consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which affect more than two billion people worldwide and can lead to increased incidence of illness, disability, and mortality. Through the use of the disability adjusted life years concept (DALYs), economic surplus analysis, and benefit-cost analysis, the authors determine the economic impact of a staple crop biofortification project. The study finds that biofortified cassava in Nigeria and Kenya is a cost effective means of reducing health problems associated with vitamin A and iron deficiency. The second paper considers the significant livelihood challenges faced by rural communities in the Andes, including poverty, food insecurity, and natural resource constraints. Through the development and implementation of a linear programming model, the study analyzes the economic impact of a conservation agriculture project in central Ecuador, and finds that certain experimental cropping activities designed to decrease soil degradation may contribute to increased incomes for farm households.