Policy highlights:

Based on surveys conducted in eight African countries, this research investigates household economic activities, income and wellbeing, with special attention to agriculture.

The research produced two outstanding ‘myth-busts’:




  • Labour is much less productive in agriculture (False): In Africa, it is often assumed that labour is intrinsically far less productive in agriculture than elsewhere in the economy. Although the value added per agricultural worker in Africa is 6 times lower than that for a non-agricultural worker, this factor drops to 1.6 when controlled for the amount of hours worked, differences in human capital, production for own consumption and income diversification across sectors. “This shifts the policy focus from getting people out of agriculture per se to making better use of labour in agriculture.” (pg. 9).
  • Women provide the bulk of the labour in African agriculture (False): It is widely believed that women provide 60–80% of the labour in agriculture in Africa. However, this statistic has been questioned before, and, based on the data from this research, it appears that women contribute only 40% of the labour for crop production.

For a complete overview of the myths and facts, see the table below.


Source: Christiaensen, 2017

Connected themes
Share this post

Related items

Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa

Digitalisation and technological advancements are changing the world of work and the skills needed for employment. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills within the next decade offering employment opportunities for its ever growing youth population. However, young people in Africa face several barriers that prevent them to obtain the types of skills required for employment. The evidence synthesis paper published by INCLUDE explores the challenges and opportunities of this digital transformation and presents recommendations of how to equip Africa’s youth for the future of work.

By Ruth van de Velde +2 more
A decent proposal: self-employment for women in Uganda

This blog is part of a case study that examined decent work in the context of the work lives of self-employed and rural women in central Uganda in collaboration with 100WEEKS, a cash transfer graduation programme.

Do Ugandan rural smallholder farmers have green jobs?

This blog is part of a case study in collaboration with TUNADO and Woord en Daad that examines how smallholder agriculture and apiculture fit into the green jobs discussion

Six key insights for green jobs for youth in Africa

The African green transition has the potential to create a plurality of job opportunities that help tackle the negative consequences of climate change: green jobs. To find out what is needed to facilitate green jobs for young people in Africa, INCLUDE and Palladium engaged in a collaborative research project in the context of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment.

Siri profile picture
Note 2: Ap(p)iculture: Compatibility mode for digitalisation?

In this blog, the authors present an analysis of the digital divide in Uganda, where the digital transition is still unequally distributed and user experiences vary greatly depending on the infrastructures available.

By Ester Agasha (PhD) +2 more