How is government investment distributed across crop research and development? How, if at all, does this differ across countries in Sub-Saharan Africa?  How has this investment changed over time?

These questions are the subject of ongoing EPAR research investigating the factors associated with investment in public goods, including agricultural research and development (R&D). This interactive visualization draws on data of public sector investment in agricultural R&D in Sub-Saharan Africa, and can help to explore the breakdown of agricultural researchers by research category (e.g., commodity grains, orphan crops, other broad aggregate research categories) and research area (e.g., cereals, roots and tubers, other crop and non-crop research areas) over time.

Hover over specific data points on the figures to discover more information about these data and characteristics they represent. In order to focus the information presented in the charts on a particular crop, country, or region, either: 1) select a particular data point or crop category on the charts themselves by clicking on the desired selection (you can use CTRL to select multiple categories); or 2) select a crop, country, or region from the dropdown menus. To revert back to a prior selection or reverse your last action, use the undo and redo buttons in the bottom left of the visualization. Clicking the reset button or blank space in the selected chart will return the visualization to the standard view. To view the visualization in full-screen, see the Tableau page here

The Visualization

This data visualization, produced using Tableau, presents data on agricultural researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa by research category and research area. The interactive figures allow for the exploration of change in researchers between the year 2011 and 2014.

Information on the data used to create this visualizaiton can be found on the EPAR Technical Report #339 project page and the .do file used to create these data can be found on the EPAR GitHub page. EPAR sourced these data from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s (CGIAR) Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Statistics Division (FAOSTAT).  EPAR has also created another visualization using this same dataset which compares ASTI and FAOSTAT data for a given year.

Variable Definitions*



Research Category

(from EPAR)

  • Commodity Grains
  • Orphan Crops
  • Other Fruits and Vegetables
  • Other Market-Oriented Crops
  • Livestock & Fisheries
  • Non-Commodity Specific Researchers

Research Area

(from ASTI)

  • Crops (cereals): wheat, rice, barley, maize, sorghum, other cereals
  • Crops (roots and tubers): potatoes, other roots and tubers
  • Crops (pulses): beans, other pulses
  • Crops (oil-bearing): soybeans, oil palm, coconut palm, groundnuts, other oil-bearing crops
  • Crops (horticultural)
  • bananas and plantains, other fruits, flowers and ornamentals, vegetables
  • Crops (other): nuts, cotton, tobacco, other crops
  • Livestock: cattle (excl. dairy), dairy, sheep and goats, poultry, other animals
  • Forestry: forestry
  • Fisheries: marine, inland
  • Natural resources: natural resources
  • Socioeconomics: socio-economics
  • Other commodities: pastures and forages, on-farm postharvest, agricultural engineering, other commodities

Total Agricultural Researchers (Number Full-Time Equivalent)

The number of full-time equivalent agricultural researchers employed at government, nonprofit, and higher education agencies (e.g., in the public sector) conducting research activities for a crop.

Total Agricultural Researchers (Percent Full-Time Equivalent)

The percent of full-time equivalent agricultural researchers employed at government, nonprofit, and higher education agencies (e.g., in the public sector) conducting research activities for a crop.

*All variables use 2011 and 2014 data.

By Terry Fletcher and Melissa Howlett

Summarizing research by Kirby Callaway, Melissa Howlett, Terry Fletcher, Matthew Fowle, Pierre Biscaye, C. Leigh Anderson, and Travis Reynolds