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Heinen, Sebastian (2022) 'Rwanda’s Agricultural Transformation Revisited: Stagnating Food Production, Systematic Overestimation, and a Flawed Performance Contract System.' Journal of Development Studies, 58 (10). pp. 2044-2064.

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The quantitative development of Rwanda’s agriculture in recent years has been widely regarded as a success story. However, a simple statistical analysis of publicly available data shows that food crop production volumes and yields actually stagnated over the last fifteen years. Moreover, agricultural output was significantly overestimated from 2008 to 2013 and then adjusted without explanation in Rwandan and international datasets. As a result, the country’s economic growth numbers are inflated as well. After presenting substantial evidence for these claims, this article discusses why massive food production overestimation occurred. It argues that it likely proliferated due to a flawed performance contract system that incentivized bureaucrats and farmers to tweak the numbers instead of compelling them to achieve actual results. Even more, this inflation prevented early detection of agricultural stagnation and the required policy adjustment. The article concludes that despite its failure to raise yields and the flaws in its governance system, the Rwandan government has achieved a fair amount of progress in state-building and socio-economic development, and that this may eventually lead to more effective policy implementation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Rwanda, agricultural statistics, food production, overreporting, performance contracts, state effectiveness
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 00220388
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 12:21
Related URLs: https://eprints ...

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