Impact of improved fallows on Farm maize productivity

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Chimbukuma, Jennipher
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University of Zambia
Adoption rates of the improved fallows, an agroforestry technology, still remains low among small holder farmers in Zambia. Understanding the impact of improved fallows on on-farm maize productivity would provide a basis for not only understanding why the adoption is low but also for an effective adoption program by providing important information for policy formulation. The main objective of this study was to assess the impact of improved fallows on on-farm maize productivity among smallholder farmers in Eastern Zambia. The study relied upon secondary data which was collected by lAPRl in 2012/2013 season. The data was composed of 597 smallholder farmers from the two districts of eastern Zambia, namely Nyimba and Petauke. This study first used probit regression to estimate propensity scores for adopters and non- adopters then used propensity score matching methods namely the kernel matching method (KM) and the nearest neighbor matching (NNM) method to estimate the average effect of the treatment (adoption) on the treated (adopters) (ATT). The study considered factors such as sex of the household head, age of the household head, level of education, marital status, household size, farm size, scarcity of pasture on the farms, household head's awareness of climate change issues and consequences, membership to an agricultural group, productivity and others in the estimation of the propensity scores. The sex of the household head, household size, awareness of climate change issues and consequences and scarcity of pasture on the farms were significant in estimating the propensity scores. The ATT found was 0.437 and 0.429 for the KM and the NNM methods respectively, this means that adoption of improved fallows had raised the productivity of adopters by 42.90% (NNM) and 43.70% (KM) on average compared to the non-adopters. Adoption rate was found to be 13%, this rate is lower than the one estimated in 2009 which was 20.6%. Based on the finding, if adoption rate is to be enhanced, more effort should be made through extension programs in facilitating seminars and training to continuously educate farmers on the benefits of IF. The Government and other stakeholders should increase awareness of climate change issues and consequences as this was found to be significant. It is important that future studies should also consider assessing the adoption and impact of this technology on other crops such as high value crops (tobacco) and to incorporate other welfare indicators such as income and number of months in year a farm household goes with enough food in assessment.
Student Project Report
Fallowing-Zambia , Agroforestry-Technologies-Zambia , Maize production