Sample Research Proposal Paper on Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Research Topic:

My focused topic is regarding Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa


Research Questions:

The following are the key focused questions I have concerning my topic:

  1. What are the special challenges that are confronting the agricultural sector in the Sub-Saharan Africa?
  2. What are the strategies to enhance the development ofthe agricultural sector in the Sub-Saharan Africa?
  3. What is the role of the agricultural sector in the transition of economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa?


Research hypothesis:

My working research question or hypothesis is:

How significant is agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa in the lives of the people and to the economies of the countries in the region?



My research topic sheds light on the impacts of agriculture on the people and economies of countries.

I have a specific interest in countries lying on the southern side of the Sahara desert in Africa on the world map (sub-Saharan countries) because agriculture is the backbone almost all the countries located in the region.


My preliminary study reveals this about my topic:

Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is an important sector that has been able to alleviate issues such as poverty and unemployment. However, the agricultural sector in the south of Sahara faces myriad challenges including; backward agricultural technologies, poor or unproductive soils, poor access to agricultural resources, and harsh climates. There have been various efforts by development institutions around the world to improve agriculture in the south of Sahara because of its significant role in the economy.


Three or more keywords that I may use to search for sources include:

Sub-Saharan Africa, Agriculture, Agricultural Research, Economic Development


My audience for this essay (my peers and instructor) may assume these stereotypes or generalizations about my topic:

Agricultural practices are key to helping sub-Saharan Africans to earn a living and also a powerhouse to the economy of the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Working Bibliography (Annotated):

Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council,. (2008). Emerging technologies to benefit farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

            The publication identifies that Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural sector is facing innumerous challenges leading to reduced agricultural production. As such, there is an impact on the standards of living for the people who depend on agriculture and consequently slowing economies in the South of Sahara. Therefore, the publication, through its panel of experts recommends over 60 technologies that could be used to improve productivity in the agricultural sector hence a remedy to transform sub-Saharan Africa.

Cleaver, K. (1993). A strategy to develop agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and a focus for the World Bank. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

            The author of this book has identified that produce from agriculture in the Sub-Saharan Africa is far below compared to the increasing population in the region yet there have been no viable policies to improve the situation. Therefore, the book suggests policies and strategies that could be used to improve agricultural practices and produce in the South of Sahara.

Cooper, P., Dimes, J., Rao, K., Shapiro, B., Shiferaw, B., & Twomlow, S. (2008). Coping better with current climatic variability in the rain-fed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa: An essential first step in adapting to future climate change?. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment126(1-2), 24-35. 

 Cooper and colleagues have identified rainfall variability as one of the key issues that are impacting agriculture in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The rainfall variability is closely associated with the shifting of world climatic patterns due to global warming of the earth. Therefore, the authors shed light on the underlying issues of climate and go ahead to suggest strategies that could render a better solution and improve agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.,. (2016). Ten Facts about Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa | global Retrieved 9 November 2016, from

            The website is an important resource in finding out the basic facts about agricultural practices in the Sub-Saharan Africa. There are statistics, maps, and other key elements regarding agriculture in the South of Sahara to enhance a study in the region.

Jayne, T., Mather, D., & Mghenyi, E. (2010). Principal Challenges Confronting Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Development38(10), 1384-1398. 

            The authors of this study have based their research on eastern and southern Africa where they surveyed to find out how small-scale farmers are faring. In their survey, they identified key challenges that have drawn back the agricultural sector in the region and went ahead to suggest policies that could be used to improve agriculture.

Mshomba, R. (2000). Africa in the global economy. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

            The book focuses on the economy of Africa as it is shaped by international trade. The authors have given a detailed information of the contributions of agriculture especially in the South of Sahara and how it influences international trade and the African economy.

Müller, T. (2004). HIV/AIDS and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

            The book explores the rural of Sub-Saharan Africa and identifies the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The authors have made a significance focus on the impact of  HIV/AIDS on agriculture.

Tiffen, M. (2003). Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Agriculture, Urbanization and Income Growth. World Development31(8), 1343-1366. 

The study by Tiffen sheds light on the key economic elements in the Sub-Saharan Africa with a special focus on agriculture. The author identifies how the agricultural sector has embraced the use of better and newer technologies in agriculture, but it has failed to transform the region into an urbanized economy because of poorly enacted policies. As such, he recommends better policies to improve agriculture and economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.