Hide table of contents

This report was conducted within the pilot for Charity Entrepreneurship’s Research Training Program in the fall of 2023 and took around fifty hours to complete (roughly translating into two weeks of work). Please interpret the confidence of the conclusions of this report with those points in mind.

I am grateful to the experts who took the time to offer their thoughts on this research.

For questions about the content of this research, please contact Aashish Khimasia at aashishkhimasia@gmail.com. For questions about the research process, please contact Leonie Falk at leonie@charityentrepreneurship.com.

Thank you to Karolina Sarek, Vicky Cox and Moritz Stumpe for their feedback and review. 

The PDF version of this report can be accessed here


Executive summary

This report focused upon evaluating the possible intervention of influencing national policies on subsidies to hinder the intensification of animal agriculture in Nigeria, primarily through lobbying. 

After ~50 hours of research, mainly focused on addressing the most important breaking points of this intervention through evidence review and interviewing experts , I have determined that there is an insufficient evidence base to recommend this intervention. However, I recommend further research into this topic, with a research agenda outlined below. 

The shallow review which led to this idea being recommended for further research identified that:

  1. The greatest increase in animals farmed until 2050 is projected to be in sub-Saharan Africa
  2. Agricultural subsidies play some role in facilitating intensification of farming, particularly through agricultural inputs like feed
  3. Removing agricultural subsidies/meat subsidies has in the past led to a decreased consumption of meat 
  4. Policy change as a result of lobbying and political advocacy is possible in countries in sub-Saharan Africa
  5. Significant proportions of people in countries in sub-Saharan Africa feel that  the government should do things to protect against environmental harms, even at large expense

This provided enough evidence to suggest this may be an effective intervention so that this was recommended for further research.

The shallow review reduced the scope from the Global South to sub-Saharan Africa, not further. Therefore, for this deep review, I identified Nigeria as the most appropriate country to focus this intervention upon through my geographical weighted factor model (see section 5), and set out to address the following more specific questions and uncertainties.

Although this intervention was not recommended, further research into this topic is recommended, in order to develop the knowledge base to design an intervention to slow down factory farming in Sub Saharan Africa with more confidence. The following are the questions recommended for further research, in descending order of importance.

Question 1: Overview of Animal Farming in Key Sub-Saharan African Countries

  • What is the distribution of animal production systems across subsistence/small-holder, semi-intensive, and intensive farming systems in Sub Saharan Africa?
  • How does this vary regionally?

Question 2: Nature of Agricultural Intensification in the Region

  • How do small-scale farmers transition to more intensive systems?
    • Who owns and operates farms at different scales and intensity ranges?
  • What are key practices, technologies and infrastructure they adopt?
    • Are they increasing stock and adopting new technologies?
    • Are they selling land and livestock to larger entities?

Question 3: Drivers of Intensification

  • What are the primary economic, social, and cultural factors driving intensification? 
    • Analyze the role of market demands, income aspirations, cultural practices, and societal pressures.
  • What role do agricultural subsidies play in promoting and facilitating intensification? 

Question 4: Role of Government and Policy in Farming Practices

  • Examine government policies, subsidies, and legal frameworks related to animal farming. 
    • How do these policies encourage or discourage intensification?

Question 5: External Influences on Farming Practices

  • Assess the impact of foreign investment, international trade agreements, and aid on local farming practices. 
    • How do these external factors affect the trend towards intensification?

Question 6: Farmer Decision-Making and Livelihoods

  • Investigate the motivations, challenges, and constraints faced by farmers. 
    • How do farmers perceive the shift towards intensive farming?
    • What are the implications for their livelihoods?
  • Beyond income, what factors motivate farmers to intensify practices? Consider cultural values, government incentives, and other social or economic factors.

Question 7: Economic and Food Security Impact of Reduced Intensification

  • What would be the economic and food supply consequences if animal farming intensification is curbed? 
    • Can farmers transition to crop farming for human consumption? 
    • How would this affect livelihoods and food security?

Question 8: State Appeal of Intervening in Animal Farming Practices

  • What aspects might make an intervention that hinders intensification appealing to governments? 
    • Consider traditional agricultural and cultural values, environmental impact, animal welfare, and potential for accessing high-welfare export markets.

Question 9: Tractability of Political Advocacy in Target Nations

  • Evaluate the influence of lobbyists on policy-making, the importance of public opinion to policymakers, and the framing necessary for policy consideration in the region e.g. (environmental, economic, cultural, animal welfare).

Question 10: Opportunities for Sustainable and Ethical Interventions

  • Identify and analyze potential interventions that could mitigate the intensification of animal farming. 
    • Consider technological, educational, policy-based, and market-driven solutions.

Question 11: Comparative Analysis with Other Regions

  • Conduct a comparative analysis with regions outside of Sub-Saharan Africa where interventions have been successful or failed. 
    • What lessons can be learned and applied?

1     Background

1.1    Cause area 

This intervention idea arose through a cause area investigation into various methods to slow down the intensification of factory farming in the Global South by Moritz Stumpe and Aashish Khimasia (here). Following a 1 hour research sprint, it was identified as a highly promising intervention idea, and a ~9 hour shallow dive was conducted by Aashish Khimasia (here), following which this idea was recommended for this 80 hour deep dive. 

1.1.1. Defining key terms

1.1.1.1 Global South

The ‘Global South’ is a term that refers to a heterogeneous set of developing countries, generally distributed around and below the Equator, in regions including Central and South America, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

In this report, it shall refer to a collection of developing nations across these regions where, most critically in this context, farming has not been comprehensively intensified to the levels of developed states like the United States and where the scale of farming is projected to increase at high rates over the coming decades as the nation develops. 

1.1.1.2 Intensification

Intensive animal agriculture, also referred to as factory farming, is a practice of rearing animals for meat and other products that prioritises maximising production and minimising costs, which somewhat inescapably leads to the violation of animal welfare. Intensification is the process of transitioning animal agriculture systems from constituting of mainly subsistence, small-holders and semi-intensive farms, where the numbers of animals are lower, animals are kept at lower densities and agricultural technologies such as cages and feeding systems and less prevalent, to constituting of mainly factory farms, where animals are kept in high numbers, at high densities, with a range of agricultural technologies and systemic practices are adopted that often further compromise animal welfare. This process tends to occur as the demand for animal products in a country increases as it develops, and as such the scale of animal farming increases to meet this demand (Blyth and Springlea, 2023). 

It is estimated that 74% of vertebrate land animals worldwide are factory farmed, and that  88-97% of vertebrate land animals and fish are factory farmed (Anthis and Anthis, 2019). In the US, 99% of chickens are raised in factory farms (FFAC, 2022).  

1.1.2. Overview of animal agriculture and animal product consumption in the Global South

This section is taken from this cause area report. The following three takeaways from major reports on this cause area give a good summary of the basic problem we are trying to address here:

“Consumption of meat and animal products is projected to increase substantially over the coming decades, with one study projecting a global increase of 38% between 2020 and 2050. [...] The growth will be highest in low and lower-middle income countries. [...] This growth will likely be supported by the intensification of agriculture - more animals will be produced, and they will be farmed under more intensive conditions.”

“A recent report by the OECD and FAO estimates that the majority of growth in meat production in the next decade will occur in developing regions, accounting for 84% of the additional output”.

From 2021 to 2030, poultry production in LMICs is expected to increase by ~15% compared to 4.8% in HICs.

In short, the problem we are dealing with is that factory farming will grow substantially in the Global South over the coming decades. The most drastic effect of this will probably be an increase in suffering to billions of animals. We have focused the majority of our time and attention on trying to quantify this effect. However, there are further effects in the areas of food security, public health, climate change, and others that are highly interrelated with agricultural production and should not be neglected. 

This spreadsheet summarises our data on the size of the problem, focusing on those countries that are currently classified as low or lower-middle income countries by the World Bank. Due to time constraints, we focused our analysis on chickens only. 

Some key takeaways are listed here:

  • We estimate that ~7.7 billion chickens were farmed in low and lower-middle income countries in 2023.
  • We estimate this number to increase to ~12.8 billion in 2050.
  • Over this whole time period (2023-2050), this means that ~288 billion chicken life years will be affected by farming in those countries.
  • Not all of these animals will be subject to factory farming conditions of course. However, it seems reasonable to assume that the great majority of them will be, as the prevalence of cages is very high in many LMICs. See the tab “Prevalence of cages” for more details. We can see that the lowest percentage of cages is found in highly developed economies, while low and lower-middle income countries can range from 50-100% of animals in cages, with most LMICs recording shares of 100%.
  • We estimate that there will be a total population of ~ 5.5 billion humans by 2050 across the candidate low and lower-middle income countries (as classified by the World Bank) (see spreadsheet)
  • The 20 countries with the highest rate of expected population growth are in Africa

2     Theories of change

2.1   Scope of the intervention

Given the size and variation of countries in the Global South, I decided to limit the scope of this report to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as these countries have the highest projected growth in animals farmed until 2050.

Although the initial intervention idea was considered influencing a range of policies, following the previous rapid research, I have decided to limit the scope to focusing on policies regarding subsidy allocation, as this seemed to have the highest ceiling for effect size. I specify these categories of policy within my ToC, however do not detail this further as I think the exact policy suggestions would be best formed following deeper research into the political and agricultural context of the target region:

  • Removal of subsidies that make meat production and consumption cheaper
  • Introduction of subsides that make plant production for human consumption cheaper

In essence, these policy interventions aim to make farming and consuming animals harder, and farming and consuming plants easier. 

2.2   Causal chain 

This can be found on Canva


2.3   Outlining assumptions and levels of uncertainty 

 

  1.  
    1. There are countries in Sub Saharan Africa where animal agriculture has not already been significantly intensified
      1. Animal Advocacy Africa identifies that approximately 80% of farms are smallholder farms in Africa (Tan, 2021), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 70% of farmers are small holder farmers (FAO, 2021).
      2. However, it is unclear exactly what proportion of animals are in what kinds of farms in African nations
    2. The animal agriculture landscape can be accurately mapped out using existing literature and expert knowledge
      1. This seems particularly challenging as an initial literature search has struggled to yield many relevant research papers on this. It is critical to understand the current drivers of intensification, the role of existing interventions and the role of actors such as governments, private investors and international organisations. 
    3. Subsidies significantly increase production and facilitate intensification 
      1. This seems the primary role of subsidies, to reduce input costs and as such increase production. 
      2. Michael et al. (2018) reports that in Mali and Tanzania, access to subsidised farm inputs increases farmers’ productivity significantly through increase in the farm size and reduced transition cost in the adoption of new technologies. 
      3. Michael et al. (2018) also states Nigeria seeks to boost agricultural production through the provision of ‘smart subsidies’ on some farm inputs to small‐scale farmers. 
      4. Springmann and Freud (2022) references that “Agricultural subsidies are an important factor for influencing production. In 2016, they represented 25% of the value of production in OECD countries, and 15% in non-OECD countries”
      5. However, Michael et al. (2018) concludes that smart subsidies in Sub Saharan Africa are poorly implemented, such that the benefits are not well distributed and the positive impacts are not as significant  to farmers as would be expected, creating doubt about whether subsidies are truly a meaningful target of intervention.  
  2. Local policymakers who can be lobbied and have influence in the relevant decision-making institutions can be identified
    1. It seems very reasonable to assume that in countries in the Global South, policymakers in relevant institutions exist, and this could be verified very easily
  3. Identified lobbying targets can be accessed
    1. Although I expect this to vary across countries, I assume policymakers have points of access such as email, office-hours and other means to schedule a meeting. Onoka (2018) outlines advice for lobbying policymakers in Nigeria, suggests that they can be accessed 
    2. If lobbying targets cannot be accessed, the intervention cannot progress. Although the intervention could shift to using public media campaigns to create pressure for policymakers to consider this proposal, this does not seem a fruitful alternative path to impact
  4. Policymakers will agree to meet with us on this issue
    1. I also expect this to vary across countries, although from expert opinion and prior knowledge of the challenges of political advocacy in Africa, I expect this to be challenging, particularly for a new charity who don’t have existing connections with policymakers. However, it must be possible as Irwin and Kyande (2022) into lobbying in Kenya identifies “success of business associations in securing participation in a majority of the committees with a regulatory function” and Onoka (2018) outlines advice for lobbying policymakers in Nigeria, suggesting that they can be accessed.
    2. There are not really strong alternative pathways to impacting policy in this ToC. If policymakers do not agree to meet with interest groups, it seems unlikely that they will be responsive to public opinion. 
    3. Pursuing expert opinion on this matter is likely to be the best way to gauge the probability of success on this assumption. 
  5. Policymakers are influenced by lobbyists
    1. This may be quite possible in some cases, as Onoka (2018) provides suggestions to influence policy through policymakers in Nigeria from a researcher-turned-policymaker, and Irwin and Kyande (2022) into lobbying in Kenya identifies “success of business associations in securing participation in a majority of the committees with a regulatory function” which suggests that it policymakers do have influence by lobbyists. 
    2. However, many countries within Sub Saharan Africa have high corruption perception scores (Transparency International, 2022), which suggests that influence of private interests may be large, and that politicians may be extremely hard to persuade away from these.
    3. This is a critical outcome to the success of this intervention and needs robust evidence to prioritise this intervention as there are not really strong alternative pathways to impacting policy in this ToC.
  6. Policymakers have influence over policies
    1. Although in theory policymakers have strong and independent influence over policies that are implemented, in reality, there may be other factors that influence policy making, such as corruption or influence from private interests and highly inefficient policymaking pathways may reduce the influence that individual policymakers can have. 
    2. Many countries within Sub Saharan Africa have high corruption perception scores (Transparency International, 2022), which suggests that influence of private interests may be large, and that politicians may be extremely hard to persuade away from these.
    3. There are not really strong alternative pathways to impacting the allocation of subsidies in this ToC, making it very important to validate this uncertainty, to ensure that policymakers can themselves have a strong, independent influence over policy. 
  7. Policies are adopted
    1. It is highly uncertain whether in practice the proposed policies would be adopted
    2. It is necessary for policies to be adopted for any impact to be made
    3. To research this, I may look at existing case studies of environmental or animal welfare legislation, and evaluate their score on the Animal Protection Index (World Animal Protection, 2022) and Environmental Performance Index (Yale University, 2022), to determine how likely the government would be to actually pass a policy like this. 
  8. Policies that are set are enforced
    1. The general rule of law is that compliance with regulations and enforcement are on average lower in the Global South than North (based on light research and general knowledge). 
    2. Nigeria has a low rule of law index score, below the global and regional averages (World Justice Project, 2022)
    3. Current smart subsidies are poorly implemented, such that they are not distributed and allocated well, with key targets and provisions of these programmes which are meant to safeguard them against failing not being enforced (Baltzer and Hansen, 2012). This sets a pessimistic precedent for further enforcement of  policies.
    4. This needs validation as it is a critical step. If policies the policies that are set are not actually  adopted and enforced, there no changes in subsidy allocation will be seen and consequently there will be no positive effects on animals
  9. The removal of subsidies for the production and consumption of animal products will increase their prices
    1. There is mixed evidence on this assumption, making me quite uncertain 
    2. Some countries like New Zealand have eliminated agricultural subsidies and this has not led to a significant increase in price or a significant drop in demand (St Clair, 2002).
    3. Some countries like Slovakia have previously removed agricultural subsidies which has led to decreased demand for meat through increased prices for meat (Blyth and Springlea, 2023)
    4. It is critical to research this in the context of a developing rather than developed nation
  10. Increased expense of operation will disincentive farmers from continuing/expanding their operations
    1. I expect that when the costs of farming are higher, such that farmers cannot afford to expand, the rate of expansion will decrease. However, I am uncertain as to whether in practice farmers will stop/reduce farming, or whether they will take loans instead to continue their practice since they have no suitable alternatives (in the US a lot of intensive farms are unprofitable with large start up costs but farmers take (generational) loans) (RAFI USA, 2016).
    2. Agriculture as an occupation may have social and cultural values that mean that increased expense and lowered income may not completely disincentivise farmers.
    3. In New Zealand, after the government removed agricultural subsidies and income for farmers significantly fell, only a small number of farmers took buyout offers from the government, the majority opting to remain in this industry (St Clair, 2002).
    4. This is the most direct path to reducing the number of animals farmed and slowing down intensification, as it does not require the effects of changes in demand to be felt. 
    5. Although there is an alternative path (through reduced demand due to increased meat prices), this is a very significant uncertainty as it is the most direct
  11. Demand for meat is (price) elastic
    1. A systematic review conducted on US studies found that animal products are elastic (Beef - 0.75 (0.67-0.83), Pork 0.72 (0.66-0.78), Poultry 0.68 (0.44-0.92) (Andreyeva, Long and Brownell, 2010). Although it seems reasonable for this to hold in countries in the Global South, with a study across 48 African countries showing animal product consumption is elastic to income (Colen et al. (2018)), this needs further research. 
    2. If a higher price for meat does not lead to lower demand, this breaks one chain to impact in the ToC. However, since the removal of subsidies also directly increases the expense for farmers, even if demand does not fall, this may still make it too expensive to continue/expand operation
  12. The production of animal products is impacted by changes in demand
    1. Based on my general knowledge, supply will decrease if demand decreases. Therefore, without subsidies, this should be expected. However, I was unable to validate this in countries in the Global South fast, so this needs further research.
    2. If lower demand for meat does not lead to lower supply, this breaks one chain to impact in the ToC. However, since the removal of subsidies also directly increases the expense for farmers, even demand does not fall, this may still make it too expensive to continue/expand operation
  13. Fewer animals being farmed leads to higher average welfare
    1. Reducing the number of animals in farms should reduce suffering overall if their lives are net negative, which seems very likely. 
    2. Improving the farming practices for animals which are still farmed through reducing the extent of intensification should also improve animal welfare. For example, fewer animals in a facility should reduce inter-animal harm and other causes of suffering such overheating and disease. 
    3. If reducing the number of animals in farms lowered their welfare, this may lead to an overall increase in animal suffering, which would render this intervention harmful. However, I expect this to be extremely unlikely


Conclusion

Overall, assumptions 1 (a,b,c), 4 and 5 are the most significant, as they sit at the start of the causal chain, and should they break, the intervention cannot hold. Therefore, I will investigate these further in the evidence review.

3    Quality of evidence  

High-level question

Baseline Uncertainty 

Assumption No.

Relevant Assumption

What is the landscape of animal agriculture in Africa? 

Moderately High

1b

The animal agriculture landscape can be accurately mapped out using existing literature and expert knowledge

Are agricultural subsidies an appropriate target for an intervention to slow down intensification of animal agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa ?


 

Moderately High

1c

Subsidies significantly increase production and facilitate intensification 


 

How tractable is this intervention strategy in this context?

Very High

2

Local policymakers who can be lobbied and have influence in the relevant decision-making institutions can be identified



 

4

Policymakers will agree to meet with us on this issue



 

5

Policymakers are influenced by lobbyists


 

Would removing or reallocating agricultural subsidies be expected to slow down the rate of farming intensification?

Moderately High

9



 

The removal of subsidies for the production and consumption of animal products will increase their prices


 

14

Demand for meat is (price) elastic


 

3.1 What is the landscape of animal agriculture in Africa? 

The landscape of animal agriculture in Africa is more challenging to map than in other countries which belong to the Global North, due to there being less empirical research on this topic, greater accessibility hurdles and less uniformity in practice. 

Before addressing more specific uncertainties about the intervention and assumptions in the Theory of Change, it is important to establish an answer to the following questions: 

  • To what extent are production methods in Africa already industrialised?
  • Can the further intensification of animal agriculture realistically be hindered through any forms of advocacy?

3.1.1. To what extent are production methods in Africa already industrialised?

The African Landscape Research Report published by Tan (2021) of Animal Advocacy Africa in 2021 sought to provide an overview of the landscape of animal farming and animal advocacy in Africa, and provides an approximation to this question. 

“A rough heuristic provided by an African expert we spoke to indicates that factory farming accounts for 20% of the entire livestock production in Africa, with free-range systems and subsistence farming comprising the remaining 80%.” 

Similarly, the FAO (2023) claims that over 70% farmers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. 

This places the estimated proportion of livestock production in African nations that is intensive to be around 20-30%. However, it remains unclear what proportion of animals themselves are raised on factory farms, and which are raised in subsistence conditions. Although one may attempt to approximate this by identifying the average number of animals that are held on each farm type, this does not appear viable for the African context, due to the range of farming sizes and systems employed. Indeed, unlike in some nations in the Global North, a binary categorisation of a farm belonging to the factory farm/intensive group or not does not apply well. Research into semi-intensive backyard poultry systems in Kenya found 4 distinct clusters of farm type from 118 farms, which can be identified in the table below (Chaiban et al., 2020). 
 

Summary of farm categories identified in semi-intensive backyard poultry systems in Kenya by Chaiban et al. (2020)

Category typeNumber of farmsAverage number of chickensAverage farm size (hectares)Productivity - Meat (kg meat per farm per year)Meat produced per chicken place per year Productivity - Eggs (eggs per farm per year)Eggs produced per hen place per year Source of flocksSalesFeedMain challenges
small-scale semi-intensive farms, isolated36561.6 1172.64719177Home produced, local breedsfarm gate, with markets and restaurants being other important outlets.Nearly half grow their own feedDisease control, theft, predators and lack of funds
medium-scale semi-intensive farms, accessible45882.32094.36431103  Commercial feed exclusivelyRoad accessibility
large-scale semi-intensive farms, accessible 182243.27825.912106205Chicks bought, Improved breedsFarm gate sales and sales to traders. sales to other farmers and to a lesser extent sales to restaurants were more important than in small- and medium-scale farmsuse of commercial feed was larger than in the small- and medium-scale farms Feed costs and diseases
large-scale semi-intensive, isolated105496.15632.521632146Chicks from natural incubation   marketing. They cited low sale prices, insufficient demand, poor market access and poor road access 



 

This figure below from Chaiban et al. (2020) demonstrates a gradient of intensification, from backyard to intensive systems, as opposed to a binary.

There was a notable difference in the practices employed by different farm clusters. Clusters 1 and 2 depended largely on home produced inputs, such as feed and animals. It is noted that these farms likely over time scaled up production without adapting practices or infrastructure. The larger scale farms in clusters 3 and 4 employed diverse combinations of practices which allowed them to produce at higher rates. In particular, cluster 3 purchased chicks rather than naturally incubating and raising them, allowing them to select breeds with better genetic potential to reach higher live weights, leading to higher productivity. This is notably a hallmark trait of industrial broiler production in the Global North. 

Further, no farm was solely dedicated to the production of chicken, with 88% involved in crop farming, 68% in other forms of livestock farming and 45% engaging in other off-farm professional activity. 
Impact upon uncertainty

Overall, this demonstrates the gradient of intensification that seems apparent in farming systems in Sub Saharan Africa. It is important to note that this is only one study, and more research on the ground must be done to test and further characterise this phenomenon, meaning that one cannot update too strongly based on this. Nevertheless, this corroborates the view of experts about the nature of farming in sub Saharan Africa (see section 4.2). However, this moderately increases the uncertainty about whether this intervention may be appropriate. Given the gradation of intensification, it is likely that different clusters of farms will experience different limiting factors to their ability to intensify, and the role subsidies play for each will be variable. Further, different farm types may follow different trajectories of intensification. 

The minimal information about the specific types of farms present in the region and a limited understanding of how they progress along the scale of intensification increases uncertainty about how this could be effectively pursued. More research must be conducted to accurately map the distribution of farms in the country of focus, before an intervention can be aptly designed. 

3.1.2 Can the further intensification of animal agriculture realistically be hindered through any forms of advocacy?

Just under half of experts interviewed by Animal Advoacy Africa in their landscape report (Tan, 2021) think factory farming could be prevented, halted or slowed. Some methods suggested by these experts include forms of political outreach, such as for taxes on producers, taxes on retailers or lobbying for the redirection of subsidies to high welfare, sustainable systems.

Impact upon uncertainty

AAA’s landscape report notes that some (just under half) of experts interviewed feel that think factory farming could be prevented, halted or slowed, including through the reallocation of agricultural subsidies. This provides a slight positive update to the overarching uncertainty, as it demonstrates local experts do believe this intervention strategy could be tractable, although more than half do not. 

3.2 Are agricultural subsidies an appropriate target for an intervention to slow down intensification of animal agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa ?

3.2.1. How are/have subsidy programs being/been employed by governments in SSA?

This section is based on an Evaluation Study by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark on Agricultural input subsidies in Sub-Saharan Africa (Baltzer and Hansen, 2012) 

General Role of Subsidies upon Agricultural Inputs

Agricultural inputs are materials which enhance agricultural productivity. Agricultural input use in Sub Saharan Africa is very low by international standards (Baltzer and Hansen, 2012). In this systematic review, Hemming et al (2018) identified studies which provide evidence that linking fertiliser and seed subsidies to increased use of the subsidised inputs, higher agricultural yields and increased income among farm households which implies that subsidies may be significant to intensification. However, Some economists argue that agricultural subsidies are expensive, benefit the wrong people and distort agricultural markets as they incentivise farmers to overuse whatever is subsidised leading to bad land management and farming practices, as was seen in New Zealand (Molloy, 2023)

Historical Context of Subsidies

Agricultural subsidies in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have evolved significantly over the years. In the initial phase, from the 1960s to 1980s, universal subsidy programmes were predominant. During this period, many African governments maintained control over input and output marketing systems, supplying farmers with agricultural inputs like fertilizers and seeds at subsidized prices, often coupled with heavily subsidized credit. These measures were part of an overarching strategy to increase agricultural productivity, recognizing that agricultural input use in SSA was notably low by international standards. 

However, this era of subsidies eventually came to an end, as programs were dismantled and input markets liberalized as part of the structural adjustment process, leading to a decline in input use and agricultural productivity. Although they were beneficial, succeeding in raising input use by farmers and increased agricultural productivity, they also had many detrimental effects, being expensive, tending to benefit relatively well off and better connected farmers, making advances in agricultural productivity dependent on continued government support and with fertiliser programmes being prone to inefficiencies arising from high administrative costs, government monopolies and political manipulation.

Current Application of Subsidies

The late 1990s marked the advent of the second phase of agricultural subsidies in SSA, shifting from universal to 'smart' subsidy programs. This shift was spearheaded by the Malawian government in 1998, which provided free fertilizers to farmers. The momentum continued with the African Union's Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution in 2006 (Winnie et al., 2022), aiming to increase fertilizer use to an average of 50 kg/ha by 2015. This plan emphasized the use of smart subsidies to enhance access to fertilizers for smallholder farmers, a model later adopted by countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana.

Nature of Smart Subsidies

Smart subsidies are characterized by their cost-effective design and specific principles. They target particular groups of farmers, especially those who do not already apply agricultural inputs and belong to the poorest households, thus mitigating the risk of displacing non-subsidized input sales. These subsidies utilize and bolster existing private input supply networks instead of replacing them with state-controlled systems, increasing the chances of sustained impact. Moreover, smart subsidies incorporate an exit strategy with a time limit, encouraging long-term sustainability and preparing producers for self-sustained use of inputs on market terms.

Role of smart subsidies in intensification

Vanluawe et al. (2014) recommends smart subsidy programmes as a method the government can use for the facilitation of sustainable intensification, through reducing the cost of key inputs.

Evaluation and Challenges

Despite the transition to smart subsidies, several challenges persist. Studies, such as the one conducted by Baltzer and Hansen (2012), review case studies to reveal that while these subsidies raise agricultural productivity, they inherit many problems of the universal programs. They are costly and inefficient, with administrative problems and poor targeting, leading to limited total expansion in the use of agricultural inputs. The benefits are often unevenly distributed, favoring politically connected or powerful individuals. Moreover, the poorest households are frequently excluded due to high co-financing requirements.

The implementation of smart subsidies has also been criticized for not addressing the root causes of low input use and agricultural productivity, such as high input procurement costs and market failures. The entrenched nature of these programs within the political system, coupled with the vested interests of various stakeholders in their continuation, raises doubts about the success of their exit strategies. These programs have become more susceptible to political manipulation, questioning their overall sustainability.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while smart subsidy programs in SSA have demonstrated the capacity to increase agricultural output, their sustainability and net benefits are questionable. The economic costs of delivering agricultural inputs to farmers are often too high compared to the benefits of higher production. Consequently, the adoption of agricultural inputs under these programs may not always represent a profitable investment, suggesting a need for a more holistic and sustainable approach to address the challenges of agriculture in SSA.

Impact on uncertainty

This evidence demonstrates that although agricultural subsidies are allocated in SSA and that their provision does generally increase production, subsidies are poorly implemented, and so the impact that they currently have on facilitating intensification in Sub Saharan Africa is likely not extremely large, causing a mild negative update on whether they should be targeted for this intervention. Nevertheless, this may also provide an organisation with the opportunity to make a case for their better implementation, in a way that also considers animal welfare. However, the nature of subsidies being used instrumentally in local politics for individuals to maintain or gain power through control of their allocation, makes it likely more challenging to convince key stakeholders to change their allocation. Therefore, overall, this section causes a moderately large negative update on the core uncertainty about whether subsidies are an appropriate target for this intervention. 

3.2.2. To what extent do subsidies facilitate intensification?

A systematic review of the drivers and constraints on agricultural expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa from 1970 to 2020 identified four proximate drivers and seven underlying drivers to cause agriculture expansion with a focus on arable agriculture, directly and indirectly respectively (Jellason et al., 2021).  

Soil fertility decline, climate change and variability, access to services, demand for food and fuel, were found to be important drivers of agricultural expansion. Population dynamic and human resettlement, demand for agricultural land, government policies, accessibility/distance to market, increase in prices of agricultural products, increased income, land tenure were found to indirectly cause agricultural expansion, at both the  micro and macro levels.

This review concluded that factors such as effective law enforcement, endemic pests and diseases, conflict and insecurity, productivity uncertainty, culture, cost of land clearing, agricultural inputs subsidies availability have been found to place restraints on agricultural expansion. 

The authors also identify that one reason why increasing populations or improved market opportunities which put pressure on areas of natural vegetation due to a need for increased food production or income generation do not always result in agricultural expansion is because of the availability of incentives and opportunities to intensify agricultural production instead, namely subsidies. Indeed, agricultural subsidies restraining agricultural expansion in some contexts likely implies that it induced some degree of intensification, driving increased production per hectare rather than an expansion of the area being farmed. 

Although a causal relationship between the provision of agricultural subsidies and agricultural intensification has been identified by the authors, this review also notes the context specific influences of different drivers. Indeed, the authors identified that agricultural subsidies have been shown to limit expansion but drive intensification in Malawi (Chibwana et al., 2012), whereas they were found to drive expansion in Ghana (Badmos et al., 2015). This demonstrates how the impact of subsidies can vary across context, with the review concluding that the location-specific influences, and interactions between the drivers, are still insufficiently understood.

Impact on uncertainty

This review focuses on agricultural expansion rather than intensification, therefore the extent to which it can inform specifically upon intensification is limited. However, this was the most appropriate review I could find, given the limited literature on this subject in this context.  Nevertheless, it demonstrates two key points that cause important updates on the overarching uncertainty of the extent to which agricultural subsidies drive intensification. 

It demonstrates that agricultural changes are driven by a range of factors, both underlying and more direct. Further, it demonstrates that the influence of these factors are context specific. Lastly, it notes the limited existing literature on agricultural expansion and intensification in Sub Saharan Africa, resulting in an insufficent understanding of the drivers of these agricultural changes in this region. In this way, this also causes a moderately large negative update on the appropriateness of targeting agricultural subsidies to slow down intensification in Sub Saharan Africa. This means that the extent to which subsidies drive intensification is most likely limited, as they are but one of a multitude of factors that drive this agricultural change, and their influence is context-dependent, based on the location and interaction with factors, yet this is currently insufficiently understood. 

3.3  Evidence that the charity can make a change in this space

3.3.1. When have governments previously changed their subsidy plans?

The ending of the first phase of agricultural subsidies in Africa in the 1980s was a result of a combination of economic, social and political factors. Original programmes were criticised for low efficiency and high corruption, new economic ideas meant that subsidisation by the government was becoming less popular in favour of market oriented strategies and countries had limited financial resources. In New Zealand, farm subsidies were also removed in the 1980s, largely as a response to an economic crisis and external debt. In both sets of cases, there appeared to be limited influence from lobbyists to influence this and this decision seemed to be significantly driven by necessity. 

Impact on uncertainty

This slightly increases my already high uncertainty that influencing subsidy allocation is tractable.  

3.3.2. How tractable is environmental policy progress for countries in Sub Saharan Africa?

According to the African Climate Change Adaptation Performance Index (Epule et al., 2021), most countries in Africa do not have strong climate policy environments, despite African countries experiencing and being modelled to experience some of the worst harms from climate change (United Nations, 2019). This implies that these governments do not already prioritise protection against environmental harms and are less likely to adopt policies with this aim.

Yale’s Environmental Protection Index (EPI) (Yale University, 2022), which ranks countries on 40 measures, found that African countries fell low, accounting for 32 of the bottom 50 countries. Notably, a strong positive correlation between EPI score and GDP was found.

This provides evidence to support my intuition that countries with low GDP are unlikely to have the resources nor attentional capacity to commit to policies which focus on environmental protection

The EPI authors found that control of corruption, regulatory quality, and the rule of law have a greater influence on the environmental performance of nation states, and that individual elements of good governance are also responsible for the implementation of environmental and climate policies.

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International, 2022), the majority of the countries in the Global South have high corruption, with the most corrupt countries being distributed across Africa and the Middle East.

This likely makes it harder to influence policy through the activities of this intervention, and gives me the impression these countries are also unlikely to prioritise protecting against environmental/ethical harms associated with animal agriculture over short-term growth, through the removal of subsidies.

However, Yale’s Environmental Protection Index notes that many countries under/overperform compared to their GDP. Berretta (2023) from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung ​​political foundation highlights examples of African countries taking steps to combat climate change. “In 2016, Kenya became the first country in Africa to adopt comprehensive framework legislation on climate change, with the aim of providing climate change adaptation measures, while promoting low-carbon development.” Further, Uganda and Gabon have been noted for making strides.

Berretta (2023) also reports that “In 2021, the Central African Forest Initiative, transferred an initial tranche of a 150 million US dollars deal, after independent experts determined that Gabon could demonstrably reduce deforestation of its rainforest and halt land-use degradation. The money will be used to invest in sustainable forestry, research, and building more environmental databases.” 

The Central African Forest Initiative works to reduce deforestation of the Central African Forest across 6 countries. Cerutti et al. (2023) reports that “Agriculture is the largest direct cause of forest loss, accounting for approximately 75 percent of deforestation in Africa. This includes both subsistence farming and industrial agriculture – which includes cocoa and oil palm production – and cattle ranching”. 

Together, these examples demonstrate the existence of outlier countries within Africa, which have initiated programmes and initiatives to reduce environmental harms, even limiting deforestation for agriculture in the Central African Forest. 

According to the (Westminster Foundation for Democracy, 2021), Kenya’s legislation came from strong internal work from MPs, and a good democratic process. This compounds the evidence that good governance is key to implementation of policies that would improve environmental protection, and also shows that this is possible in our candidate countries.

Impact upon uncertainty

Overall, this updates my high uncertainty over whether governments in Sub Saharan African nations would adopt the proposed set of policies, weakly positively to moderately high uncertainty. Critically, although there is limited evidence of strong government policy in relevant areas such as environmental protection in SSA, some examples demonstrate that in the correct contexts, this may be possible. 

The following insights come from nationally representative surveys conducted by the non-profit Afrobarometer (AB), a “pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that has been conducting public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy, and society since 1999” (Afrobarometer, nd-b).

According to the Afrobarometer Climate Change Country Cards (Afrobarometer, nd-a): Of citizens in African countries who know about climate change, very large proportions want their governments to do more for the environment even at the expensive of economic growth. Of those who have heard of climate change: 86% of Tanzanians83% of Gambians81% of Kenyans71% of Nigerians think the government should take action against climate change even if it is expensive.

However, the proportions of the population who have heard of climate change are not particularly large. Therefore when scaled by this, the proportion of the populations think the government should take action against climate change even if it is expensive range from 16% to 61%, with a mean of 38% and a standard deviation of 11 percentage points (see % thinking govt should take action despite expense tab in the geographical weighted factor model).

Further, their reports conclude that Kenyan citizens “think environmental protection should be prioritised even if that should be at the expense of job creation” (Afrobarometer),  “almost unanimously, [Tanzanian] citizens want more government action to limit pollution and protect the  environment, even at the cost of jobs and incomes” (Afrobarometer) and that “a majority of [Liberia] citizens say the government should do “much more” to protect the environment, even at significant economic cost.” 

This demonstrates that populations in African nations are likely to provide moderate to moderately strong support government action to protect the environment, such as limiting the detrimental impacts of expanding and intensifying animal agriculture, although this would not be expected to be extensive.

Impact upon uncertainty

This does not have a very weak positive update upon my overall uncertainty on this assumption, as evidence from democratic indices, corruption indices and my expert interviews converge to suggest that many governments in Sub Saharan Africa do not place extremely high weight upon public opinion when making political decisions, limiting the extent of its influence. 

3.3.4. Can lobbyists influence policymakers in Sub Saharan Africa?

Schuster (2022) outlines a history of lobbying in South Africa to influence the government in favour of private financial interests against taking action against climate change.

Onoka (2018) outlines advice for lobbying and meeting policymakers in Nigeria, suggesting that it is a pathway to impact that does indeed exist. A study into lobbying in Kenya identifies “success of business associations in securing participation in a majority of the committees with a regulatory function” (Irwin and Kyanade, 2022), also validating that lobbying has influence in sub Saharan Africa. 

There are many examples of large NGOs influencing policy in Africa, particularly for issues regarding global health and development. Amref Health Africa is a health-focused NGO which operates in several African countries and shapes health policy at the national and international level. The ONE campaign also works with governments and policymakers to promote evidence-based policies which address policy and inequality. 

Animal Advocacy Africa’s landscape report from 2021 found that 8 out of 22 organisations involved in their study engage in political advocacy. However, accounts from expert interviews (see 4.1) suggest that in practice, building relationships with stakeholders and influencing their actions is extremely challenging within sub Saharan African nations. Ratings on corruption perception indices and evidence of failed policies such as the implementation of smart subsidies due to corruption at local governmental levels (see 3.2) imply that private interests are likely to hinder progress on policy change, particularly when seeking reforms that may hinder economic development or go against these private interests.  Indeed, The International Fund for Animal Welfare which operates globally, including in Africa, does not operate any policy programmes in African nations, which may be due to tractability concerns, although this is speculative.

Accounts from expert interviews (see 4.1) also suggest that economic, cultural, public health framings of environmental or animal welfare problems may be very important for successful and effective political advocacy. It would be particularly important to demonstrate how this intervention is in the immediate public interest. 

Impact upon uncertainty

Overall, this updates me slightly positively about the ability for a charity to influence policy in Africa, as encountering multiple examples of large organisations influencing policy and discovering that a number of organisations work on this already demonstrated that it is possible, although I was very uncertain about this at baseline. However, I remain uncertain about the ability for an organisation to make political progress on this specific issue, as historical policy changes with regards to subsidy allocation have come from economic necessity, and it appears making progress on environmental or animal welfare issues that do not necessarily directly benefit human health or economic development seems challenging. 

3.4 Would removing or reallocating agricultural subsidies be expected to slow down the rate of farming intensification?

Evidence That Removing Agricultural Subsidies Hinders Intensification or Meat Consumption

The relationship between agricultural subsidies and farming intensification, as well as meat consumption, can be complex. A pivotal case study is the removal of agricultural subsidies in Slovakia during the early 1990s, particularly a tax on the sale of beef (Animal Ask). This policy change led to a noticeable decrease in meat consumption, which persisted until the reintroduction of subsidies in 2015. This instance provides moderate evidence that removing subsidies can indeed impact meat consumption and possibly farming intensification, as it has been demonstrated in a real-world scenario.

Additionally, Lam et al. (2019) conducted a review including ten nations that highlights that fertilizer subsidies contribute to a rapid increase in national production. This correlation between fertilizer subsidies and increased agricultural production slightly reduces uncertainty regarding the link between subsidies and intensification. However, this finding is tempered by the possibility that other incentives or investments could similarly drive production, an essential element of intensification.

Evidence That Removing Agricultural Subsidies Would Not Hinder Intensification or Meat Consumption

In the context of the United States, Bollard (2017) reported that that removing federal farm policies, including the Farm Bill introduced in 1933, might not significantly reduce meat supply or consumption. The Farm Bill indirectly subsidizes factory farms, with a significant portion of its budget supporting farm commodity and crop insurance programs. Indeed, 15.4 percent of the total, or $14.6 billion per year, is allocated to spending on farm commodity and crop insurance programs. However, a model by leading agricultural economist Lusk (2015) suggests that removing these crop subsidies would only marginally increase animal protein costs at retail (0.1-1%). This finding casts doubt on the extent of US farmers' dependency on agricultural subsidies. However, it's important to note that this evidence is specific to the US, with its nearly completely intensified animal agriculture system. It does not necessarily reflect the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, where farmers' dependency on subsidies for stable production and intensification might differ significantly.

Most rich nations have untethered farm subsidies from production levels in response to WTO rules, and New Zealand, which has eliminated virtually all agricultural subsidies, has not seen rising meat prices or declines in production (Bollard, 2019). New Zealand's elimination of government agricultural subsidies in 1984 did not lead to rising meat prices or declines in production in the long term (St Clair, 2002). While initially causing economic hardship and lower farm prices, this policy change eventually led to stronger agricultural practices and production that aligned with market demand (Siegel, 2016). However, New Zealand's context as a small, isolated, developed yet agrarian nation with a pre-existing scaled-up farming system limits the applicability of this model to developing nations. The economic impacts of removing subsidies might have different consequences in regions with a higher risk of war, international threats, or less established agricultural sectors.

Conclusion

The evidence regarding the impact of removing agricultural subsidies on farming intensification and meat consumption is varied and heavily context-dependent. While some cases like Slovakia show a clear link between subsidy removal and decreased meat consumption, other examples from the US and New Zealand suggest that the impact might be less significant, particularly in developed or intensively farmed regions. In developing regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the dependency on subsidies for production stability and intensification could be more critical, though this remains an area with significant uncertainty. The varying impacts observed across different countries and contexts indicate a need for tailored policy approaches that consider the unique agricultural, economic, and social dynamics at play.

Impact upon Uncertainty

Although some existing evidence has shown that removing subsidies may not influence demand for meat, this has been in developed countries which have already intensified, therefore this is not informative about whether removing subsidies from agriculture would stall intensification in a developing country that has not yet fully intensified. Fertiliser subsidies have been shown to drive production in LMICs, however there is insufficient evidence about the broader agricultural context to validate that the removal of subsidies would stop production increases and stop intensification. Therefore, this does not cause any directional update to uncertainty. 

3.5. Conclusion  

This table summarises the impact of the evidence review upon major uncertainties

High-level questionBaseline Uncertainty Sub questionUpdate from subquestionUpdated Uncertainty 
Is the landscape of African animal agriculture well enough understood for this intervention to be successful?Moderately HighTo what extent are production methods in Africa already industrialised?---High
Can the further intensification of animal agriculture realistically be hindered through any forms of advocacy?+
Are agricultural subsidies an appropriate target for an intervention to slow down intensification of animal agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa ?Moderately High

How are/have subsidy programs being/been employed by governments in SSA?


 

---Very High
To what extent do subsidies facilitate intensification?---
How tractable is this intervention strategy in this context?Very High

When have governments previously changed their subsidy plans?



 

--Moderately High-High

How tractable is environmental policy progress for countries in Sub Saharan Africa?



 

+
How likely is this initiative to gain popular support?+
Can lobbyists influence policymakers in Sub Saharan Africa?+
Would removing or reallocating agricultural subsidies be expected to slow down the rate of farming intensification?Moderately High

Evidence That Removing Agricultural Subsidies Hinders Intensification or Meat Consumption


 

=Moderately High
Evidence That Removing Agricultural Subsidies Would Not Hinder Intensification or Meat Consumption=

Overall, I update negatively on the majority of uncertainties following this evidence review, and conclude with moderately high to high uncertainty on the key questions and assumptions highlighted from the Theory of Change (see 2.3). 

My major takeaway is that there is insufficient understanding of the landscape of animal agriculture and the role of agricultural subsidies to validate the Theory of Change (see 2.2). Further, although there are some indications that policy advocacy in Africa may be more tractable than initially thought, it still appears very intractable, with a moderately high to high uncertainty, given limited evidence of previous successes in this cause area and context. Given that there is insufficient evidence to validate the selection of subsidies as a target of intervention, I highlight the need for more research on the drivers of intensification in countries in SSA, to more robustly identify a promising intervention.

4     Expert views

4.1 Abby Couture and Elise Hankins, Bryant Research

Abby Couture and Elise Hankins are researchers at Bryant Research, conducting a research project in collaboration with Animal Advocacy Africa seeking to understand the landscape of animal agriculture in Africa in order to identify and evaluate interventions. 

Summary of conversation

Abby and Elise gave general estimates that 50%-80% of farms are smallholder farms within Africa; according to the FAO (2023) over 70% farmers in Nigeria are smallholders. However, they expressed that there is very sparse data on this subject, and that their view was more research needs to be done to determine this accurately. 

Abby and Elise identified that government programmes are in place to assist young farmers to intensify in Nigeria, such as Task Force Rural Africa (European Commission, nd), which seeks to strengthen agriculture in rural areas, setting out strategies and recommendations for Africa’s rural areas to transform. They explained that these programs are often in partnership with trade alliances, such as the Growth Gateway between the UK and African nations, which promotes trade and investment opportunities including in agriculture. In particular, this involves shared research, technologies and investment opportunities. 

From their own conversations with experts and people working on the ground, Abby and Elise explained that policy change is very slow, especially in countries without stable governments and that even if the majority of people in a country want a particular change, governments aren’t extremely responsive to public opinion. They suggested that interventions focusing on influencing NGOs/IGOs might be more tractable. Further, they explained that in order to make any progress on policy or political opinion in the majority of African nations, public health, ecological and economic framings must be used.

With regards to subsidies, they reported that the main subsidies for agriculture are focused on lowering the cost of inputs, namely fertiliser, and that a reasonable proportion of subsidies are provided in conjunction with a trade agreement with the EU or UK or private equity, in a form of foreign aid, rather than purely being of domestic origin. Notably, they identified that there is also an agricultural credit scheme by Nigerian Central Bank, which provides credit for farmers to upscale that helps to bear the cost of increased production. In this way, they noted that the government does not provide the majority of effective subsidies.

Main updates 

  1. There is a dearth of evidence to understand the landscape of animal agriculture and the nature of intensification, and that research should be conducted to fill these knowledge gaps before interventions are implemented
  2. Policy change in African countries is very slow and difficult to achieve
  3. The government may not be the most significant player in funding or facilitating the intensification of animal agriculture

Overall, this updated me fairly strongly in favour of the view that had been developed through the evidence review, that there is insufficient evidence about major uncertainties to recommend this intervention.

4.2 Dr Rachel Mason, Independent Researcher

Dr Rachel Mason is an independent researcher, funded by an Animal Charity Evaluators movement grant investigating the drivers of industrial food animal production in the US, evaluating interventions that have been proposed or pursued by the animal advocacy movement and uncovering the underlying ToCs.

Summary of conversation

Rachel explained her framing of industrial food animal production as a system in which the processing of inputs to outputs is done by animals themselves. This system is characterised by uniformity, high throughput, maximising growth and productivity and standardisation, with confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) at the centre of this industry. 

Rachel identified the overarching driver of intensification as the need to make profits, and identified drivers as things which drive down the cost of inputs or increase the value of the outputs. 

Input focused drivers include methods of reducing cost of key agricultural inputs like feed by:

  • Increasing the feed conversion rate of animal
  • Increasing scale such that economies of scale lead to reduced costs
  • Provision of subsidies that reduce input costs 

Notably, this is all enabled in a culture which gives factory farming legitimacy and in which agribusiness has considerable power.

Rachel explained how subsidies have come to play a significant role in this industry in the US, particularly through the strength of the agricultural lobby and originally implemented as a solution to agricultural productivity. Since the 1930s the amount of food a country can produce in the US has dramatically increased, meaning agricultural policy has had to deal with supply outgrowing demand, which leads to lower crop prices. As a response, the government resorted to buying agricultural products to keep prices up. 

As a profit driven system, major players seek regulations and provisions that favour their interests. To do this they needed to have power and influence, achieved through taking a considerable ownership of the market. In particular, companies decreased competition through horizontal integration and increased ownership of the industry through vertical integration. In this way, the power of farmers was reduced and the power of companies was increased, leading to increased lobbying power. Around the 1980s, a new policy was made, to allow farmers to produce as much as they can, let the prices fall and respond to this by subsidising farmers, resulting in cheap grains. This was significant in facilitating industrialisation. 

Forms of subsidies in the US

Subsidised Crop insurance

These insure crops against damage (bad weather) and revenue falls. Revenue floors are established - you get a payment compensating for drops in prices beyond a certain level. Essentially, this means the public subsidies farmers to produce cheap grain

Environmental Quality Incentives Program 

These were originally provided to encourage sustainable practice and conservation behaviour e.g. to cover the cost of cover crops. Now 50% of this money has to go to livestock operations, which in the US is almost 100% industrialised. The money is now used to cover costs associated with the upkeep of CAFOs.

Publicly funded research

Industrial food animal production has required significant research, some of which has been publicly funded.

Weak and unenforced environmental regulations

This can be considered an indirect subsidy, which allows companies and farmers to spend less on complying with regulations.

However, it was emphasised that subsidies are very context specific, and so this should not be necessarily applied to African nations. From her own knowledge, Rachel identified that feed is expensive and difficult to come, especially in Africa and explained that in Brazil and China the governments have focused on companies and selected them to be national champions of meat production, so this may be something to be aware of happening in Africa.

Rachel suggested that there is minimal existing research that has been produced that provides the context specific information needed to design an effective intervention, and that it is known to be extremely challenging to gain access to industrial farming operations in Africa, having previously explored a research project to do this. Rachel explained that whilst in the US, animal agriculture appears to be binary, with operations being CAFOs or small holder non-intensive operations, in Africa, there is a much larger scale from subsistence to completely industrialised, and that it is incredibly difficult to identify the proportion of operations that fit at each point along this scale. 

Rachel proposed that for any intervention, it would be important to present a positive vision for the food system that doesn’t involve industrial animal agriculture, in particular highlighting the problems with contract farming and promoting alternative forms of agriculture including from plant-based sources. 

Finally, Rachel suggested that an alternative intervention focused on producing research to address key uncertainties and fill knowledge gaps to map out the agricultural system in key nations in Africa might be more appropriate. 

Organisations that Rachel recommended to contact for further research into animal agriculture in LMICs were International Livestock Research Institute and International Food Policy Research Institute

Main updates

  1. There is a dearth of evidence to understand the landscape of animal agriculture and the nature of intensification, and that research should be conducted to fill these knowledge gaps before interventions are implemented
  2. Subsidies played an important role in intensification in the US, however their influence and provision is very context specific

Overall, this updated me fairly strongly in favour of the view that had been developed through the evidence review, that there is insufficient evidence about major uncertainties to recommend this intervention. Further, it led me to consider the recommendation of specific research projects being conducted instead of the original intervention.

5     Geographic assessment 

#RTP23A12 - GWFM 

5.1 Geographic assessment

This geographic assessment was conducted by constructing a weighted factor model, to rank candidate countries within Sub Saharan Africa for their potential as countries of focus for this intervention. 

The following table provides an overview of the categories and criterion selected, as well as their weights. A more detailed explanation for these choices, with sources, can be found in the ‘Summary Sheet’ tab of the model spreadsheet.

This model was produced as a collaborative effort with Moritz Stumpe of Animal Advocacy Africa. 

High Level CategoryHigh Level Category WeightMultiplierCriterionCriterion Weight (within category)
Scale0.325 Projected number of animals farmed (2050)1
Projected Intensification0.3 Projected growth in number of animals farmed0.35
 Increase in urban population (%) 2021-20500.15
 Ratio of the production amount per animal per year comparing 2050 to 2012 (FAO)0.5
Current Intensification0.125-1Normalised production amount per animal per year, averaged across five categories: cattle, poultry, pigs, dairy, eggs0.85
-1Agricultural value added per worker 20190.15
Tractability0.2 Corruption Index0.175
 Democracy Index0.18
 Political Stability0.15
 % of population thinking govt should take action on climate change despite expense0.1
 Share of labour force employed in agriculture (2019)0.2
 EPI score (Environmental Protection Index)0.2
Neglectedness0.05-1Ratio of Human Population/Number of farmed animal advocacy organisations1


 

The most promising countries in descending order were:

  • Nigeria
  • South Africa 
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d'Ivoire

These make sense, based on my prior knowledge of the countries where animal farming is expected to increase the most, and given that in these countries the intensification process seems not to already have significantly been complete, based on the proxies I selected to identify this (except in South Africa where intensification has significantly processed). Through sensitivity analyses conducted by changing the weights, Nigeria has remained in the first position. Notably, its scale score is extremely high compared to the other countries, and although its tractability score is in the bottom quartile, it does not appear significantly lower than the other top options. Therefore, I selected Nigeria as the country of focus for this intervention.

6     Decision

Question

Answer

Explanation

Is there a crucial consideration in the ToC why this should not be implemented?

Weak Yes

See Theory of Change

Is there sufficient evidence?

Strong No

See Evidence Review


 Conclusion from decision chart: Don’t recommend

7 Conclusion

Overall, I do not recommend this intervention to be implemented by a new charity incubated by CE. This is because there are significant knowledge gaps which make it uncertain that using policy advocacy to influence government subsidy allocation would be an effective way to slow down the intensification of agricultural intensification. Further, there are significant tractability concerns about whether lobbying would have a high enough probability of significantly influencing policymakers to pursue such a change. 

However, I strongly recommend that research into key uncertainties should be funded, to provide foundational knowledge that can be used to design an effective intervention. Currently, Byrant Research and Animal Advocacy Africa are conducting a report addressing some of these questions, and some independent researchers like Rachel Mason have expressed interest in pursuing this in the future.

In particular, the following questions should be answered

Question 1: Overview of Animal Farming in Key Sub-Saharan African Countries

  • What is the distribution of animal production systems across subsistence/small-holder, semi-intensive, and intensive farming systems in Sub Saharan Africa?
  • How does this vary regionally?

Question 2: Nature of Agricultural Intensification in the Region

  • How do small-scale farmers transition to more intensive systems?
    • Who owns and operates farms at different scales and intensity ranges?
  • What are key practices, technologies and infrastructure they adopt?
    • Are they increasing stock and adopting new technologies?
    • Are they selling land and livestock to larger entities?

Question 3: Drivers of Intensification

  • What are the primary economic, social, and cultural factors driving intensification? 
    • Analyse the role of market demands, income aspirations, cultural practices, and societal pressures.
  • What role do agricultural subsidies play in promoting and facilitating intensification? 

Question 4: Role of Government and Policy in Farming Practices

  • Examine government policies, subsidies, and legal frameworks related to animal farming. 
    • How do these policies encourage or discourage intensification?

Question 5: External Influences on Farming Practices

  • Assess the impact of foreign investment, international trade agreements, and aid on local farming practices. 
    • How do these external factors affect the trend towards intensification?

Question 6: Farmer Decision-Making and Livelihoods

  • Investigate the motivations, challenges, and constraints faced by farmers. 
    • How do farmers perceive the shift towards intensive farming?
    • What are the implications for their livelihoods?
  • Beyond income, what factors motivate farmers to intensify practices? Consider cultural values, government incentives, and other social or economic factors.

Question 7: Economic and Food Security Impact of Reduced Intensification

  • What would be the economic and food supply consequences if animal farming intensification is curbed? 
    • Can farmers transition to crop farming for human consumption? 
    • How would this affect livelihoods and food security?

Question 8: State Appeal of Intervening in Animal Farming Practices

  • What aspects might make an intervention that hinders intensification appealing to governments? 
    • Consider traditional agricultural and cultural values, environmental impact, animal welfare, and potential for accessing high-welfare export markets.

Question 9: Tractability of Political Advocacy in Target Nations

  • Evaluate the influence of lobbyists on policy-making, the importance of public opinion to policymakers, and the framing necessary for policy consideration in the region e.g. (environmental, economic, cultural, animal welfare).

Question 10: Opportunities for Sustainable and Ethical Interventions

  • Identify and analyse potential interventions that could mitigate the intensification of animal farming. 
    • Consider technological, educational, policy-based, and market-driven solutions.

Question 11: Comparative Analysis with Other Regions

  • Conduct a comparative analysis with regions outside of Sub-Saharan Africa where interventions have been successful or failed. 
    • What lessons can be learned and applied?

 

References

Afrobarometer. (n.d.-a). Publications. Afrobarometer. https://www.afrobarometer.org/publications/?select-publication-subtype%5B%5D=climate-change-country-cards&hidden-current-page=1

Afrobarometer. (n.d.-b). What we do. Afrobarometer. https://www.afrobarometer.org/about/what-we-do/

Andreyeva, T., Long, M. W., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). The impact of food prices on consumption: A systematic review of research on the price elasticity of demand for food. American Journal of Public Health100(2), 216–222. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2008.151415

Anthis, K., & Anthis, J. R. (2019, February 21). Global Farmed & Factory Farmed Animals Estimates. Sentience Institute. December 20, 2023, https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/global-animal-farming-estimates

Baltzer, K., & Hansen, H. (2012). (rep.). Evaluation Study: Agricultural input subsidies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Copenhagen, Denmark: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Berretta, A. (2023, October 2). Environmental and climate policy in Africa. International Reports. https://www.kas.de/en/web/auslandsinformationen/artikel/detail/-/content/umwelt-und-klimapolitik-in-afrika#:~:text=Opportunities%20to%20Improve%20National%20Policies,to%20implement%20the%20Paris%20Agreement

Blyth, M., & Springlea, R. (2023, September 25). Meat consumption and production in developing countries: who bucks the trend? Animal Ask. December 20, 2023, https://www.animalask.org/post/meat-consumption-and-production-in-developing-countries-who-bucks-the-trend

Cerutti, P. O., Uehara, T. K., & Wallace, J. (2023, May 18). Deforestation in Africa - international affairs think tank. Deforestation in Africa. https://www.chathamhouse.org/2023/05/deforestation-africa

Colen, L., Melo, P. C., Abdul-Salam, Y., Roberts, D., Mary, S., & Gomez Y Paloma, S. (2018). Income elasticities for food, Calories and nutrients across Africa: A meta-analysis. Food Policy77, 116–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2018.04.002

European Commission. (n.d.). Africa-Europe Rural Transformation Action Agenda. Agriculture and rural development. https://agriculture.ec.europa.eu/international/international-cooperation/africa/africa-europe-rural-transformation-action-agenda_en

Epule, T. E., Chehbouni, A., Dhiba, D., Moto, M. W., & Peng, C. (2021). African climate change policy performance index. Environmental and Sustainability Indicators12, 100163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indic.2021.100163

FAO. (2023). Fao.org. Nigeria at a glance | FAO in Nigeria | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/nigeria/fao-in-nigeria/nigeria-at-a-glance/en/

FFAC. (2022, January 11). What is chicken factory farming, and how bad is it?: FFAC. Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. https://ffacoalition.org/articles/what-is-chicken-factory-farming-and-how-bad-is-it/#:~:text=An%20estimated%2099%20percent%20of,are%20confined%20in%20factory%20farms.

Hemming, D. J., Chirwa, E. W., Dorward, A., Ruffhead, H. J., Hill, R., Osborn, J., Langer, L., Harman, L., Asaoka, H., Coffey, C., & Phillips, D. (2018). Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low‐ and lower‐middle‐income countries: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews14(1), 1–153. https://doi.org/10.4073/csr.2018.4

Irwin, D., & Kyande, M. (2022). Interest group representation on government committees in Kenya. Interest Groups & Advocacy11(3), 315–332. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41309-021-00149-6

Lam, Y., Fry, J. P., & Nachman, K. E. (2019). Applying an environmental public health lens to the industrialization of food animal production in ten low- and middle-income countries. Globalization and Health15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0479-5

Michael, A., Tashikalma, A. K., & Maurice, D. C. (2018). Agricultural inputs subsidy in Nigeria: An overview of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS). Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis66(3), 781–789. https://doi.org/10.11118/actaun201866030781 

Molloy, C. (2023, February 23). Abolishing agricultural subsidies – the new zealand story. Austrian Economics Center. https://austriancenter.com/abolishing-agricultural-subsidies-the-new-zealand-story/

Onoka, C. (2018). 5 lessons on how to influence policy: Insights from a researcher turned policymaker in Nigeria. RESYST. https://resyst.lshtm.ac.uk/resources/5-lessons-on-how-to-influence-policy-insights-from-a-researcher-turned-policymaker-in

RAFI USA. (2016, July 12). What debt in chicken farming says about american agriculture. RAFI USA. https://www.rafiusa.org/blog/what-debt-in-chicken-farming-says-about-american-agriculture/#:~:text=That%20means%20in%20order%20to,per%20pound%20of%20chicken%20produced.

Schuster, E. (2022, November 22). Corporate climate lobbying in South Africa: an introduction. Just Share. https://justshare.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/221121_Corporate-climate-lobbying-in-South-Africa-Introduction_November-2022.pdf

Siegel, J. (2016, September 22). New Zealand farmers thrive without government subsidies. The Daily Signal. https://www.dailysignal.com/2016/09/22/what-happened-when-new-zealand-got-rid-of-government-subsidies-for-farmers/ 

St Clair, T. (2002, July 17). VIEWPOINT – Farming without subsidies – a better way. Why New Zealand agriculture is a world leader. Politico. https://archive.org/details/perma_cc_BF8J-Q9UT

Tan, L. (2021, May). African landscape research report - squarespace. Animal Advocacy Africa. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5fc0f83868612547ed5e8292/t/60a525b24157ab11159c1867/1621435842201/AAA_Landscape_Research_Report-Findings_From_AAA.pdf

Transparency International. (2022). 2022 corruption perceptions index: Explore the results. Transparency.org. https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2022

United Nations. (2019, October 8). Unprecedented impacts of climate change disproportionately burdening developing countries, delegate stresses, as Second Committee concludes general debate | UN press. United Nations. https://press.un.org/en/2019/gaef3516.doc.htm

Westminster Foundation for Democracy. (2021, May 17). Stronger Democratic Process in Kenya to tackle climate change. Westminster Foundation for Democracy. https://www.wfd.org/story/stronger-democratic-process-kenya-tackle-climate-change

Winnie, N., Giweta, M., Gweyi-Onyango, J., Mochoge, B., Mutegi, J., Nziguheba, G., & Masso, C. (2022). Assessment of the 2006 abuja fertilizer declaration with emphasis on nitrogen use efficiency to reduce yield gaps in maize production. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.758724

World Animal Protection. (2022). Animal protection index. World Animal Protection | Animal Protection Index. https://api.worldanimalprotection.org/

World Justice Project. (2022). WJP rule of law index. World Justice Project. https://worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index/country/2022/Nigeria/Regulatory%20Enforcement/

Yale University. (2022). Environmental Performance Index. EPI. https://epi.yale.edu/ 

Comments13
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

I haven't spent any meaningful time thinking about this question in the context of Africa. But I have a sense of worry that one of the major drivers of factory farming intensification in Africa in the future is going to be a series of technologies called precision livestock farming technologies, which include AI, robotics, cloud computing, cloud-connected electronic gadgets. In particular, AI is going to be the center of all these.

AI and robotics used in factory farming are largely still in their R&D to pilot testing stages in developed countries (U.S., Canada, Japan, EU) and China. I don't see a reason why they will not get to a point where most factory farms in their countries can be, economically speaking (there might be political reasons against employing such technologies), largely run by AI and robots. And I think the costs of these AI systems and robots will go down and eventually be promoted to and sold to Africa. Their economic advantage might grow so huge that they will drive out the small holder farmers who cannot afford these systems. 

Would precision farming decrease costs or increase outputs (reduce mortality, increase growth) much compared standard conventional factory farmings? It could reduce labour costs, increase energy and equipment costs, and have no effect on feed and juvenile costs. It seems that feed often (e.g. chicken, salmon) accounts for around 50% or more of the cost of production in factory. So precision farming could only reduce costs so much.

Hi Fai, thanks for raising this consideration and I apologize for the time between your comment and my response. Although I had considered the flow of technology such as enriched cages or battery cages from the Global North to the Global South, I had not yet considered the possibility of precision farming to shape the development of animal agriculture in Africa and speed up intensification. 

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the following:

  • How concerned are you about the impact of precision agriculture technology on agricultural practices in the Global North?   
  • Is there currently a unique window of opportunity to prevent the success and/or implementation of these technologies in agricultural systems in the Global North?
  • Do you have any suggestions of interventions that could be made to prevent these technologies from being adopted in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as pre-emptive policy interventions to introduce regulations against the implementation of these technologies in developing nations to protect small-holder farmers

Hi Aashish, thank you for your reply!

Re: your first question, I think I am very concerned about the impact of PLF techs in the global north, but it's kind of inevitable already - it will happen anyway. I think the question is how to make it develop into more animal friendly versions.

Re: your second question, I am starting to discuss with fellow advocates within the momvent on strategies to react to AI/PLF development in factory farming. I think I only have rough ideas that might be worth discussing further, but nothing worth actually implementing yet.

I think I don't have good answers to your last question because I know close to nothing about factory farming (or anything) in Africa.

Thanks for your research on this Aashish! Very relevant for our work at Animal Advocacy Africa.
I'm getting the sense that policy work / lobbying could be a good idea (since your uncertainty around this has reduced as a result of your evidence review), but it should be targeted at something else than subsidies, since their path to impact is quite long and unclear? For example lobbying for better animal welfare standards might be more promising as it more directly addresses the problem (has a shorter ToC)?
Do you have an opinion on this? Or any other interventions you think might be more promising than addressing subsidies?

Hey Moritz, thanks for your comment and question. I agree that the theory of change is long and the feedback loops are weak for a subsidy-focused policy intervention, and there are likely more promising as that are yet to be uncovered. 

Lobbying for higher animal welfare standards seems promising at first glance, particularly for asks that may in practice limit the extent to which smallholder farms can intensify:

  • limiting the stocking density of broiler hens
  • limiting the use of certain "low welfare breeds" of broiler hens
  • implementing cage free asks
  • implementing pre-slaughter stunning requirements

Notably, this would require research to determine which welfare would be most tractable and have the biggest limiting effect upon industrialization. Furthermore, identifying "win-win-win" asks that benefit the farmer, the government and animal welfare would likely increase the tractability of this. 

Another avenue may be exploring environmental and building regulation asks, to limit the ability to build large animal farming facilities, that may be required for high scale, intensive agriculture.

I would prioritise research into the key questions outlined in the report, to better understand the process and extent of industrialisation across major producing nations in Sub Saharan Africa, to identify other levers beyond subsidies to prevent or limit the extent of industrialisation, to reduce both the scale and intensity of animal farming.  

I am curious to see what Animal Advocacy Africa uncover from further research into this! 

Thanks for your perspective, I'll definitely let you know about our further research :)

Executive summary: The report evaluates influencing national subsidy policies to hinder intensification of animal agriculture in Nigeria through lobbying, concluding there is insufficient evidence to recommend the intervention but outlining questions for further research.

Key points:

  1. Growth in animal farming will be highest in sub-Saharan Africa; subsidies may facilitate intensification but evidence is limited and context-specific.
  2. Evidence is insufficient to recommend lobbying to influence subsidy policies in Nigeria; landscape of animal agriculture not well mapped, policy influence seems very challenging.
  3. Recommends research to map distribution of farming systems and understand drivers of intensification before designing interventions.
  4. Questions for research include: mapping animal production systems, nature of intensification, role of subsidies and other drivers, government policies, external influences, farmer motivations and implications of reducing intensification.
  5. Alternative intervention could be research project to address key knowledge gaps.
  6. Does not recommend implementing the intervention; recommends further research through questions outlined.

 

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

Thanks for writing this! It's a great report. Some quick thoughts:

  • Even if the removal of subsidies caused a decrease in the number of local farms, you might worry that it increases the competitiveness of foreign animal products that may have worse welfare standards (of course, removing subsidies would be a notable policy win, and spur removals in other countries).
  • I agree that understanding the kinds of systems used and their prevalence seems key. However, I think it's possible that we could define a lower bound of the number of animals in more intensive systems and pencil out whether an intervention seems worth it (there could still be better interventions at other parts of the intensification gradient). Getting better data sounds like it could be expensive is one concern I have.

On another note, I wonder if a better way to slow the expansion of intensive livestock production in new regions might be to restrict access to critical equipment and inputs. Low/middle income countries might not have the industries to produce cages, crates, slaughter equipment, antibiotics, etc, at scale, and so may import. Influencing policymakers in countries that supply these inputs may be more tractable. For instance, it seems the World Bank has been influenced by high-income countries to limit finance for fossil fuel projects.

Voters in high-income countries want action on moral issues, but often struggle to personally swallow the costs. Imposing the policies on other countries can therefore be an easy policy win for politicians. It wouldn't surprise me if bans on exports of battery cages, gestation crates, antibiotics for use in livestock and such were reasonably tractable (note: not sure antibiotic bans would be good for welfare). Of course all this comes with the complexity of what it may do to wellbeing of humans in affected countries.

Thanks for your thoughts here! 

With regards to the first, I do agree that this would be a concern, and would be important to attempt to mitigate. Advocating for the reallocation of subsidies from animal agriculture to arable agriculture and/or the domestic production of alternative proteins, alongside carrying out public-facing messaging interventions could lead to a reduction in the level of animal production consumption and as such limit the extent to which demand for foreign animal products with poor welfare standards rises. Further, even if this cannot be directly mitigated, there are likely to be efforts to improve welfare standards in systems that are already industrialized, such as through the work of Animal Policy International and the Open Wing Alliance. Therefore, counterfactually, there may be a net reduction in animal suffering by preventing the industrialization of agriculture in a Sub-Saharan nation like Nigeria, even if this leads to a slight increase in the scale of an already large and industrialized system, where there is more likely to be efforts to improve welfare standards.

To your second point, this is a very interesting consideration - thank you. I agree that it is worth considering whether interventions at earlier points on the gradient of intensification. A priority would be to understand what drives and facilitates farms to transition along the gradient, and how long they tend to exist at each point, in the hope of identifying particularly significant steps that could be targeted. 

For the last point, I would have suggested you discuss this with Moritz Stumpe, but I see that he has already got there! My main thought is that it would be critical to determine the distribution supply of battery cages across the nations that export them, to identify whether focusing policy efforts in a few key countries would be effective to meaningfully limit supply. 

Have you seen this post on second-hand battery pages in Africa? Do you think an intervention focusing on this issue would be promising? If so, what kind of intervention? Should this be focused on the exporting or importing countries?

I would be curious to get your opinion on this, as we (Animal Advocacy Africa) are currently considering different strategies to recommend/pursue.

Thank you!

Thanks for your questions, Moritz! I hadn't seen that post. 

I don't think I could tell you with confidence that such interventions would be promising. There are a lot of steps in the causal chain that I'm unsure about.

  1. Looking at the supplementary material of this study, it seems like a lot of the second-hand cages from the EU's ban may have been sold to countries that already almost only use cage-free systems (cross-referencing with OWID data numbers ). So perhaps many of second-hand cages are simply replacing old ones, rather than causing more chickens to end up in them (of course they could be used for new chickens farms ― don't know).
    1. Note that the OWID numbers are more recent, so it's possible some of these countries increased their cage share as a result of those sales.
  2. Still, it's possible that more are now being sold to e.g. Nigeria, and that this is placing new chickens in cages. So the question is: how much does the lower cost of second hand cages induce more adoption? I would think some bit, but I find it hard to say.
  3. How concentrated is the supply of second-hand cages? Would bans in a few exporting countries/companies restrict the supply a lot? 
  4. What systems are they transitioning from, and what are the improvements in benefits?

It also feels like this would maybe be more of delaying tactic, as producers may upgrade once they are wealthier or new cages are cheaper.

Also, from the spreadsheet you shared with me, it seems like a lot of the projected growth in chicken consumption is in Nigeria. The more the consumption growth is concentrated in one or a few countries, the more it may make sense to focus on their policies.

Sorry, I know this isn't really an answer to your questions ― it's hard to think about!

Thanks for your inputs, this is great. I also didn't expect you to have the perfect answer. It's a very tricky problem.

I'll incorporate these considerations in our research!

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities