Global Practice on Agriculture
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Fields of Specialization
Agricultural development, Agricultural policy, Agricultural innovation systems
Global Practice on Agriculture
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Michael Morris is a Lead Agricultural Economist with the World Bank, where he manages lending operations, conducts research, and provides technical assistance. He has co-authored World Bank flagship publications on fertilizer policy, agricultural commercialization, and drylands development, and he contributed to the 2008 World Development Report Agriculture for Development. His areas of expertise include agricultural policy, farm-level productivity enhancement, marketing systems and value chain development, agricultural research and technology transfer, institutional strengthening, and capacity building. Prior to joining the World Bank in 2004, he served for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone; conducted dissertation research for two years in Senegal; and spent 16 years in Mexico, Thailand, and Washington with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant : Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in the Guinea Savannah Zone and Beyond(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-06) Morris, Michael ; Larson, GunnarStimulating agricultural growth is critical to reducing poverty in Africa. Commercial agriculture, potentially a powerful driver of agricultural growth, can develop along a number of pathways. Yet many developing regions have failed to progress very far along any of these pathways. Particularly in Africa, agriculture continues to lag. During the past 30 years the competitiveness of many African export crops has declined, and Africa's dependence on imported food crops has increased. While the poor performance of African agriculture can be attributed partly to adverse agroecological conditions, experience from elsewhere in the developing world suggests that significant progress is possible. The Guinea Savannah covers some 600 million hectares in Africa, of which about 400 million can be used for agriculture. Less than ten percent of this area is currently cropped, making it one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) Morris, Michael ; Kelly, Valerie A. ; Kopicki, Ron J. ; Byerlee, DerekIn every region of the world, the intensification of crop-based agriculture has been associated with a sharp increase in the use of chemical fertilizer. Given the generally low levels of fertilizer use in Africa, there can be little doubt that fertilizer use must increase in Africa if the region is to meet its agricultural growth targets, poverty reduction goals, and environmental sustainability objectives. For this reason, policies and programs are needed to encourage fertilizer use in ways that are technically efficient, economically rational, and market-friendly. Including this introduction, this report contains eight chapters. Chapter 2 sets the stage by discussing agriculture's role in the overall economic development process and explaining why agricultural development often leads to patterns of growth that are strongly pro-poor. Chapter 3 briefly recounts the history of fertilizer promotion efforts in Africa. Chapter 4 outlines the reasons for low fertilizer use in Africa. Chapter 5 examines factors that influence fertilizer demand and identifies entry points at which public interventions can strengthen effective demand at the farm level. Chapter 6 examines the factors that determine the supply of fertilizer and identifies entry points for public interventions to improve fertilizer supply. Chapter 7 identifies potential entry points at which public investments may be effective for fostering desirable change in a country's fertilizer sector. Chapter 8 summarizes the main points made in the report and concludes the discussion.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) Morris, Michael ; Sebastian, Ashwini Rekha ; Perego, Viviana Maria EugeniaAgriculture and food systems in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LAC) are rightfully recognized as among the most successful on the planet: they have fed a fast-growing population, facilitated economic development, enabled urbanization, generated substantial exports, and helped drive down global hunger and poverty. Yet despite these significant contributions, the public image of the region’s agriculture and food systems as dynamic, productive, and efficient reflectsonly part of a more complicated reality. The impressive achievements have come at the expense of significant environmental and health costs. LAC agriculture uses over one-third of the region’s land area, consumes nearly three-quarters of the region’s fresh water resources, and generates almost one-half of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. And despite the consistent food production surpluses, millions of people in LAC regularly go hungry or suffer from malnutrition and related diseases. In short, the region’s successes in feeding the population and exporting food to the rest of the world are exacting high costs on people and on the environment.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank; and Agence Française de Développement, 2016-05-02) Cervigni, Raffaello ; Morris, Michael ; Cervigni, Raffaello ; Morris, MichaelDrylands make up about 43 percent of the region’s land surface, account for about 75 percent of the area used for agriculture, and are home to about 50 percent of the population, including many poor. Involving complex interactions among many factors, vulnerability in drylands is rising, jeopardizing the livelihood for of millions.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09-24) Arias, Diego ; Vieira, Pedro Abel ; Contini, Elisio ; Farinelli, Barbara ; Morris, MichaelThe industrialization process in Brazil begun in the 1960s and intensified in the 1970s, however the expected productivity growth of the overall economy and structural transformation did not happen. Since the end of the 1970s, the Brazilian labor productivity has been lower than many similar economies, currently representing around one fourth of the average labor productivity in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. One of the reasons for the weak productivity performance of the Brazilian economy in the past decades has been the manufacturing sector. Between 2000-2013, agriculture productivity rose by 105.6 percent, compared to only 11.7 percent in the services sector and -5.5 percent in the manufacturing sector. This report will focus mainly on policies related to key production factors (such as human, physical, and natural capital) and agriculture policies. The motivation for this report is to explore the evolution and source of the strong agriculture productivity growth that has occurred in Brazil in recent decades, identifying opportunities and challenges for future development of the sector. The goal is to look for opportunities to accelerate agriculture productivity growth, to have an increased impact on sector growth, jobs, environmental sustainability, and poverty reduction, as well as potentially to shed light on lessons that can contribute to efforts to boost productivity in other sectors within Brazil. The report is divided into five sections. Section one give introduction; section two describes the evolution and sources of agriculture productivity growth in recent years; section three evaluates the contributions of different factors of production, such as natural, human, and physical capital; section four explores the opportunities for further maximizing agriculture growth in Brazil through increases in productivity; and section five presents conclusions and policy recommendations on how to further maximize agriculture productivity in Brazil while having positive social (poverty reduction and jobs) and environmental impacts.
Publication( 2007-05) Agwe, Jonathan ; Morris, Michael ; Fernabdes, ErickReversing Africa's decades-long decline in soil productivity levels poses a major challenge, and one that cannot be addressed without increased use of appropriate fertilizer nutrients. The 2006 World Bank Africa Fertilizer Strategy Assessment was undertaken to inform policy makers, providing them with guidelines on measures to effectively raise fertilizer use. This Note draws upon the material prepared for the above fertilizer strategy assessment, summarizes the information on the approaches to enhancing fertilizer supply and use in Africa, and identifies some future steps.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09-24) Arias, Diego ; Vieira, Pedro Abel ; Contini, Elisio ; Farinelli, Barbara ; Morris, MichaelThis report explains about the agriculture productivity growth in Brazil.Agriculture has been an island of success in terms of productivity growth in the last decades compared to other sectors of the Brazilian economy and compared to other country’s agriculture sector.Agriculture productivity growth in recent decades in Brazil has been mainly driven by investments in agriculture innovation, facilitation of sector financing, and trade liberalization. Trade liberalization has shown to be an important factor in the growth of agriculture productivity in recent decades, which can serve as an important experience for other Brazilian economic sectors that remain relatively close to trade. Agriculture productivity has room to grow further, improving productivity of lagging mid-size farmers and regions, reforming agriculture policies towards agriculture financing, agrologistics, and research and development(R&D).Experience within Brazil shows that agriculture productivity can continue to grow without depleting natural capital nor further increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Unlike the structural economic transformation of other countries, Brazilian agriculture productivity growth has been a net job creator. Agriculture productivity growth in Brazil can therefore continue its positive upward trend, while being environmentally sustainable, creating jobs, and increasing incomes for the rural poor.The motivation for this report is to explore the evolution and source of the strong agriculture productivity growth that has occurred in Brazil in recent decades, identifying opportunities and challenges for future development of the sector. The goal is to look for opportunities to accelerate agriculture productivity growth, to have an increased impact on sector growth, jobs, environmental sustainability, and poverty reduction, as well as potentially to shed light on lessons that can contribute to efforts to boost productivity in other sectors within Brazil. The report is divided into five sections. Following this introduction, Section two describes the evolution and sources of agriculture productivity growth in recent years; Section three evaluates the contributions of different factors of production, such as natural, human and physical capital; Section four explores the opportunities for further maximizing agriculture growth in Brazil through increases in productivity; and Section five presents conclusions and policy recommendations on how to further maximize agriculture productivity in Brazil while having positive social (poverty reduction and jobs) and environmental impacts.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-09-28) Beylis, Guillermo ; Fattal-Jaef, Roberto ; Sinha, Rishabh ; Morris, Michael ; Sebastian, Ashwini RekhaThe economic impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented in size and scope. It has quickly evolved from a health emergency into an employment crisis. It also has far-reaching implications for workers beyond the immediate employment effects, as it most likely has accelerated the transformation process of jobs that had already started in the region and the world. This book focuses on three important pre-pandemic trends observed in the region—namely, premature deindustrialization, servicification of the economy, and task automation—that were significantly changing the labor market landscape in the region and that have been accelerated by the crisis. While there is still uncertainty about the economic impacts of Covid-19, policymakers need to start planning for a rapidly evolving future that will come sooner than expected. A strong focus on productivity, technology development and adoption, and training in relevant skills will be key to adapting and taking advantage of the new opportunities in the post-pandemic world. Importantly, the accelerated transformation of jobs calls for a rethinking of labor regulations and social protection policies geared towards wage earners employed in the formal sector of the economy. The three trends identified in Going Viral, the effects of the pandemic itself, and the growing reliance on electronic platforms raise doubts that wage employment will increase substantially in the coming years. At the same time, earnings and transactions processed through electronic platforms are more visible to the authorities, bringing an opportunity to increase tax revenue and social security contributions. The flexible regulation of the emerging forms of work in a way that encourages employment, supports formalization, and expands the coverage of social protection to larger segments of the population will be of utmost importance for policymakers preparing for a new and changed world.