Food Security

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 509–518 | Cite as

Mind the (yield) gap(s)

  • James SumbergEmail author
Original Paper


This paper explores the origin of the notion of “yield gap” and its use as a framing device for agricultural policy in sub-Saharan Africa. The argument is that while the yield gap of policy discourse provides a simple and powerful framing device, it is most often used without the discipline or caveats associated with the best examples of its use in crop production ecology and microeconomics. This argument is developed by examining how yield gap is used in a selection of recent and influential agricultural policy documents. The message for policy makers and others is clear: “mind the (yield) gap(s)”, for they are seldom what they appear.


Africa Agriculture Productivity Crop Ecology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Development StudiesUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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