This article explores why sector-wide approaches, in which donor funds support a single sector plan under government leadership, have performed less well in agriculture than in the social sectors. Many problems stem from the more limited, more contested and shrinking role of the state in the agricultural sector. It is also argued that sector programmes have worked best where the key constraints on sector development are the responsibility of a single ministry, whereas agricultural development requires co-ordinated interventions across sectors. The sector approach may have a limited role in delivering better focused agricultural services, but fundamental policy questions need to be resolved first. This is more likely if support for reforms is channelled through central economic ministries and other bodies outside the agriculture ministry.
Mick Foster, Adrienne Brown, Felix Naschold