Agriculture constitutes about one-third of GDP and provides employment for about two-thirds of the labor force in Sub-Saharan Africa. Productivity growth in agriculture is therefore an important element for economic growth and development. Yet, growth in this sector has been slow. According to the World Bank (1989), agricultural growth for the continent from 1980 to 1989 averaged only 1.8% per year. Therefore, “improving this growth rate is of increasing concern for both governments and international organizations” (Pinckney 1995). Investing in the human capital base is regarded as one of the most effective ways to improve agricultural productivity (Nelson and Phelps, 1966; Romer, 1990; Bindlish and Evenson, 1997; Birdsall et al., 1999).
According to Odusola (1998), the concept of human capital formation refers to a “conscious and continuous process of acquiring and increasing the number of people with requisite knowledge, education, skill and experience that are crucial for the economic and political development of a country.”
Several studies have shown that investing in human capital yield social rates of return, much higher than on ordinary commercial ventures or on investments in physical capital (Romer, 1986, 1990; Lucas, 1988; Birdsall et al., 1999; Umo, 2007). These high rates of return are partly due to the ability of human capital to raise the productivity and competitiveness of resources such as land, labor, and capital (Schuh and Angeli-Schuh, 1989; Gallacher, 1999). The higher the stock of human capital, the more output can be produced per labor unit (Kleynhans, 2006). Becker (1964) and Drucker (1968) contend that knowledge as a form of human capital has become increasingly important in productivity and is thus regarde...
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