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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 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 The influence of collective property rights on grazing management in a semi-arid region

The influence of collective property rights on grazing management in a semi-arid region

(2009)

The paper reports on a series of field experiments based on a non-standard common-pool resource model and carried out with communal farmers in southern Africa. We frame an experimental design used by Cardenas et al. (2008) in Thailand and Colombia according to the grazing situation in semi-arid regions. We analyse the efficiency of two simple, imperfectly enforced property-rights mechanisms that base on both, informal realworld arrangements practised in the communal areas as well as on the procedure pursued by the Namibian government, where mostly those farmers with big herd sizes get granted access to resettlement farms. Our results suggest that in the short run, the introduction of property rights increases the economic returns and has positive ecological effects, but that these effects diminish in the long-run if imperfectly enforced. It further seems that players’ propensity to co-operate is constant across the experiment: farmers who behave less co-operatively in an open access situation do so as well when they get granted exclusive property rights.

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 A Market for all Farmers: Market Institutions and Smallholder Participation

A Market for all Farmers: Market Institutions and Smallholder Participation

(2009)

The transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture, often referred to as the commercialization of agriculture, has long been considered an important part of the agrarian transformation of low income economies and a means of ensuring food security, enhanced nutrition, and enhanced incomes. However, in the face of imperfect markets and high transaction costs, smallholders are rarely able to exploit all the potential gains from commercialization. With the objective of better understanding smallholder participation in markets, the paper proceeds in Section 1 to examine the impact of early reforms on smallholder market participation. In Section 2, we characterize the dimensions of smallholder agriculture that constrain market participation. In Section 3, a conceptual framework for understanding market participation through the lens of market institutions is proposed, followed by an exposition to recent efforts to promote market development in Section 4 and an overview of participation through the market institution of a commodity exchange in Section 5, before proceeding to conclusions in Section 6.

Cover page of Vulnerability, Risk Management, and Agricultural Development

Vulnerability, Risk Management, and Agricultural Development

(2009)

For many poor farmers in developing countries, vulnerability to risk is a dominant feature of their livelihoods. Households' desires to protect themselves against shocks is thought to affect their production and savings decisions. Farmers who are fearful of future loss of earnings may be reluctant to adopt technological innovations with a variable or unknown return. This paper examines the relationship between agricultural development, vulnerability to shocks, and the risk management practices of small farmers in developing countries. It finds that adoption of new agricultural inputs and practices is a combination of both rational and behavioral motives, with peer effects appearing more important through studies of social networks and reinforcement and diffusion effects.

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 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 Contract Farming, Smallholders and Commercialization of Agriculture in Uganda: The Case of Sorghum, Sunflower, and Rice Contract Farming Schemes.

Contract Farming, Smallholders and Commercialization of Agriculture in Uganda: The Case of Sorghum, Sunflower, and Rice Contract Farming Schemes.

(2009)

Contract farming has expanded in Uganda due to the promotional efforts of various actors: private, public, and/or international aid agencies. While motives for promoting contract farming may vary by actor, it is argued in this study that contract farming is crucial in the commercialization of smallholder agriculture and hence, poverty reduction in Uganda. However, smallholder farmers in Uganda have reportedly experienced some contractual problems when dealing with large agribusiness firms, resulting in them giving up contract farming. Similarly, agribusinesses have also reportedly encountered some contractual problems when dealing with some smallholder farmers that could have led to the exclusion of the latter from contract farming. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to examine the role of contract farming in the commercialization of smallholder agriculture in Uganda by using sunflower, sorghum, and rice contract schemes as case studies. Specifically, the study sought to characterize the sorghum, sunflower, and rice contract schemes as well as identify benefits and problems associated with them. Primary data were collected by a combined use of survey and informal interview methods. A survey of both contracted and non contracted farmers was conducted in Soroti District (Sorghum), Apac District (Sunflower), and Bugiri District (Rice). Informal interviews were held with agribusiness firms (Nile Breweries Limited, Mukwano Industries, and Tilda (U) Limited), their agents, and support organizations. Data were then analyzed using descriptive statistics and non parametric tests (Chi-square and F-tests). While most of the findings from this study are general in nature, some of them are idiosyncratic to the case studies investigated. It was generally found contract farming contributed a great deal to the commercialization of smallholder agriculture in Uganda, especially in the sorghum (Epuripur) and sunflower sub-sectors. While agribusinesses obtained assured supply of raw materials for their processing needs, smallholder farmers on the other hand had access to critical inputs such as improved seeds and extension services, in addition to access to a guaranteed market for their produce. However, there were still some challenges in the organization and operation of the contract farming schemes. Thus, both agribusinesses and policy makers have separate roles to play in making sure contract farming is properly nurtured for the benefit of smallholder farmers in Uganda.

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.