Economic impacts of smallholder farmers’ adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties
• Drought-tolerant maize variety is an adaptive response to climate variability.
• Adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties increases crop yield.
• Adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties increases market participation.
• Adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties increases farm income.
Abstract: Drought and high temperatures are major threats to sustainable food production and consequently the livelihoods of the majority of Africans who depend on fragile agricultural systems. As a response to these threats, climate-smart agricultural technologies, such as drought-tolerant maize (DTM) varieties, have been developed and promoted on the continent.
It is well-known that the adoption of improved technologies generally impacts positively on the wellbeing of adopters. Nevertheless, the magnitude of the impact of any technology or intervention is always an empirical question. Therefore, this study sought to determine the factors that influence the adoption of DTM and subsequently estimate how yield, commercialization intensity, and farm income are affected by adoption. To establish causation, we relied on observations from 200 farm households in the northern region of Ghana and estimated an instrumental variable regression.
Consistent with findings reported in the literature, we found that DTM adoption is primarily driven by access to seed, extension service, labor availability, and location of farm households. In addition, we found that DTM adoption positively impacts on yield and commercialization intensity. The magnitude of impact is not trivial. For example, the yield of farm households increased by more than 150% (936 kg/ha) following DTM adoption. These results imply that policy-makers and development practitioners must support research and promotion of climate-smart agriculture to improve adoption and welfare indicators, such as yield and commercialization.
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