CLTS Working Papers, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Can Adoption of Improved Maize Varieties Help Smallholder Farmers Adapt to Drought? Evidence from Malawi
() and Monica Fischer
Abstract: This study used a three-year panel dataset for 350
Malawian farm households to examine the potential for widespread adoption
of drought tolerant (DT) maize varieties, a technology that holds
considerable promise for helping smallholder farmers in SSA adapt to
drought risk. Regression results revealed that DT maize cultivation
increased substantially from 2006 to 2012, with the main driver being the
Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program. Some other key factors related to
adoption were having recently experienced drought and farmer risk aversion.
As far as yield performance, improved maize varieties performed
significantly better than local maize during the 2011/12 drought year.
However, DT maize did not perform significantly better than other improved
maize varieties used in Malawi, which is in contradiction to results from
on-station and on-farm trials (e.g., Magorokosho et al. 2010; Setimela et
al., 2012). A plausible explanation is that farmers had inadequate training
or experience to move towards the yield potentials of the DT maize
varieties. Expansion of agricultural extension activities may be required
to help farmers achieve the DT maize yield potentials and, subsequently,
improve farmer resilience to drought.
Keywords: Improved maize varieties; drought; drought tolerance; input subsidies; maize yields; agricultural adaptation; risk aversion; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: Q12; Q18; (follow links to similar papers)
34 pages, February 4, 2015
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