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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CEGA is a hub for research on global development, with a network of over 60 academic researchers extending across the University of California, Stanford University, and the University of Washington. Our faculty affiliates design and test solutions for the problems of poverty, generating actionable evidence for policy-makers in less developed countries. Using rigorous field trials, behavioral experiments, and tools from data science, we measure and maximize the impacts of economic development programs throughout the world.

Cover page of AERC Conference on Agriculture for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction.

AERC Conference on Agriculture for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction.

(2009)

The objective of this introduction is to put the May 2009 conference "on Agriculture for Development" in perspective of current and expected changes in the broad process of using agriculture for development in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is to help the conference achieve its two main purposes: assess the frontiers of research in economics applied to agricultural development and smallholder competitiveness; and establish research priorities for future efforts in that direction. It uses the WDR 2008 as a starting point for this task.

Cover page of Assessing the impact of improved agricultural technologies in rural Mozambique.

Assessing the impact of improved agricultural technologies in rural Mozambique.

(2009)

This paper analyzes the use of improved agricultural technologies, and implications for food security and poverty reduction in rural Mozambique. The results are drawn from a nationally representative household survey covering the agricultural season of 2004/05. As a robustness check, the paper uses three econometric approaches: the doubly robust estimator, regression and matching, and sub-classification and regression. The results show that the impact of improved technologies is positive, conditional on irrigation use. Additionally, the results attest to the importance of increasing agricultural productivity in tandem with improvements on farmers’ ability to store food.

Cover page of What determines the price received by farmers? The case of cocoa in Cameroon

What determines the price received by farmers? The case of cocoa in Cameroon

(2009)

Various works have demonstrated that small-scale agricultural producers from developing countries do not generally obtain the potential gains linked to marketing. What can be done to help them obtain better prices? In this article, we examine two different solutions: increasing the bargaining power of individual producers and collective marketing through producer organizations (POs). We use data on 2,487 cocoa transactions undertaken by producers in Cameroon during the 2005/2006 season (IITA survey 2006). We first of all explore bargaining theories to identify the determinants of the price received by producers who sell their produce individually, and the, analyse the effect of collective marketing. We show that when the bargaining situation is least favourable to the producers (because the prices are nonnegotiable and there is information asymmetry which favours the traders), the traders seize the entire surplus generated by the trade. In order to improve the prices received by producers, it should be necessary to manage their access to credit (so that they will not be bound to any buyer the had obtained credits from, thus ameliorate arbitrate and negotiate the price), and enable them delay their sale until after the start of the school year (so that traders could no longer know the producers financial need). We also show that selling produce via the POs generally results in a price increase of 9% caused by improvement in a reduction in transaction costs (through economies of scale) and improved bargaining power. The article also examines whether or not the mere presence of a PO in a specific zone enables all the producers in this zone (even those who sell individually) to benefit from higher prices. However, a clear conclusion does not arise in this respect.

Cover page of Agricultural Productivity and Mortality: Evidence from Kagera, Tanzania

Agricultural Productivity and Mortality: Evidence from Kagera, Tanzania

(2009)

We ask whether prime-age adult mortality due to HIV/AIDS decreases the endowment of knowledge for agricultural production in Kagera, Tanzania, reducing total factor productivity. We also quantify how much this negative effect contributes to the decrease in long-term household agricultural income growth compared to the contribution of decreased accumulation of productive assets; household members, land, and livestock. We find that prime-age adult mortality decreases the accumulation of knowledge stock as total factor productivity and the contribution of this negative effect to the decrease in agricultural income growth is larger than the contribution of decreased accumulation of each productive asset.

Cover page of Technological Change in Smallholder Agriculture: Bridging the Adoption Gap by Understanding its Source.

Technological Change in Smallholder Agriculture: Bridging the Adoption Gap by Understanding its Source.

(2009)

This paper examines the informational origin of the low adoption rates of modern agricultural technologies frequently observed in smallholder agriculture in Sub-Sahran Africa. The paper argues that a large part of these observed low adoption rates can be explained by a simple fact: The lack of awareness of the existence of the technology by a large proportion of the smallholder farming population. The paper analyzes the structure of the adoption gap resulting from this lack of awareness and presents a methodology for estimating that gap and truly informative adoption rates and their determinants. This methodology is then used to provide estimates of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA)

population potential adoption rates and gaps as well as estimates of the determinants of NERICA exposure and adoption in four West African Countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Benin and Gambia.

The implied estimated adoption gaps of 21% in Cote-d’Ivoire, 41% in Guinea, 28% in Benin and 47% in Gambia suggest that there is potential for increasing NERICA adoption significantly in these four countries. The results of the analysis of the

determinants of NERICA adoption highlight the importance of Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) trials and farmer access to extension services in promoting the adoption of NERICAs beyond their beneficial effects in making farmers aware of the existence of the varieties. The findings also points to some possible gender biases in the dissemination of NERICA varieties in Guinea.

Cover page of Impact of Public Market Information System (PMIS) on Farmers Food Marketing Decisions: Case of Benin

Impact of Public Market Information System (PMIS) on Farmers Food Marketing Decisions: Case of Benin

(2009)

To sell their surpluses of maize, the main staple in Benin, farmers may choose among three modes of transaction: they may sell under a contract with itinerant traders, or they may sell without a contract at the farmgate or on distant markets. It has been postulated that farmers may choose a profitable mode of transaction if they have good access to information on the prevailing market conditions. Using detailed farm household survey data from Benin, this paper applies the Nested Logit model to test this hypothesis. The results show that farmers are likely to opt for selling at the farmgate without a contract if they have good access to information. However, such a decision may not be related to access to information through the government supported 'Public Market Information System' but rather it is likely to be induced by access to information through farmers' own social networks.

Cover page of Agricultural Technology Adoption:  A Panel Analysis of Smallholder Farmers’ Fertilizer use in Kenya

Agricultural Technology Adoption: A Panel Analysis of Smallholder Farmers’ Fertilizer use in Kenya

(2009)

Africa is the only region where agricultural productivity has continued to decline over the last decades and poverty levels have increased. This has necessitated the need to increase agricultural productivity. One way of increasing agricultural productivity is through introduction and use of improved agricultural technologies. This paper applied a double-hurdle model on a ten-year panel household survey data for 1,275 households to examine determinants of fertilizer adoption and use intensity in Kenya.

Results show that the proportion of households using fertilizer dramatically rose in the last decade while fertilizer application rates increased marginally. Fertilizer use in the drier agro ecological zones is still way below that in the higher agro ecologically potential zones, indicating higher risk involved in and lower profitability of using fertilizer in the drier areas. Econometric estimation results show that age, education, credit, presence of a cash crop, distance to fertilizer market and agro ecological potential are statistically significant in influencing the probability of adopting fertilizer. The strongest determinants of fertilizer use intensity are gender, dependency ratio, credit, presence of cash crop, distance to extension service and agro ecological potential.

The study suggests improving access to gricultural credit by especially low income farmers; concerted efforts to promote fertilizer use among farmers in the drier areas; and government investment in rural infrastructure, efficient port facilities and standards of commerce to reduce the cost of distributing fertilizer, as some of the ways to promote fertilizer use.

Cover page of Recurrent Shocks, Poverty Traps and the Degradation of the Social Capital Base of Pastoralism: A Case Study from Southern Ethiopia

Recurrent Shocks, Poverty Traps and the Degradation of the Social Capital Base of Pastoralism: A Case Study from Southern Ethiopia

(2009)

The long-term effects of shocks are examined in the context of a traditional pastoral community. The impacts are empirically examined in connection with the micro-level poverty trap hypothesis and the associated minimum poverty threshold estimates reported in previous studies. We argue that these estimates cannot be taken as definitive and the core explanations behind them are incongruent with the institutional realities of the pastoral community for which they are reported. The reality is that shocks have implied long-term community-wide deprivation with a lasting effect of deterioration in the indigenous capacity to cushion those who slide into permanent destitution. This is evident in the empirically identified increasing loss of confidence in the indigenous social support structures. The findings rather highlight the need for policy interventions to focus on system level community-wide development issues rather than the commonly emphasized individual targeting implied by such exercises as asset-based poverty threshold estimates.

Cover page of Inequality, Agricultural Production and Poverty: With Focus on Large-scale / Small-scale Sugarcane Farms in South Africa.

Inequality, Agricultural Production and Poverty: With Focus on Large-scale / Small-scale Sugarcane Farms in South Africa.

(2009)

International development agencies have renewed interest over agriculture’s pro-poor potentials. South Africa’s agriculture though contributes less than 3% to GDP, has the highest employment per unit of GDP. The sector is sharply divided into small and large farms. Data reveals an increasing land productivity gap between both types of farms. Using data from various sources1, this paper assesses the agricultural production impacts of inequality and land redistribution, first in the whole agricultural sector, then the sugarcane sub-sector, comparing small-scale and largescale farm performances and considering the causes of the productivity gap. It also analyses the comparative poverty effects of both farm-types. Time series are corrected for unit roots and estimated using robust estimation, which corrects for heteroskedasticity and outliers. Specification tests help to determine the right panel model for sugarcane. The results suggest that inequality (land redistribution) is associated with slower (enhanced) agricultural productivity. This positive effect of land redistribution can be because land constraints in South African large farms may not be binding and therefore the negative impact on large-farms does not dominate. The impact of land redistribution though negative for large-scale and positive for small-scale producers is not significant. This implies that redistribution efforts must be accompanied by significant ease of other constraints facing small farmers. Other inputs like fertiliser and irrigation facilities show more significant impact on small farm production than land alone. Much of the difference in productivity arises from disparity in input use, specifically fertiliser and irrigation. There is possibility of positive external effects from large-scale chemical and labour use to small-scale production as they attenuate the gap in productivities. The finding also suggests the need to strengthen the human capital (particularly education) of small-scale producers. Both large and small-scale sugarcane production have significant poverty reduction effects, but the effect from small-scale production is clearly higher.