The effect of household wealth on the adoption of improved maize varieties in Zambia
Production and price risks that could render input use unprofitable sometimes prevent rural households from benefiting from input technological change. The household's ability to cope with such risks and hence benefit from input technological change is often positively related to its wealth or stock of productive assets. Empirical evidence, however, suggests a non-linear relationship between wealth and adoption of new agricultural technologies so that within a rural community, households on the lower wealth continuum behave differently from those on the higher level. Using farm level data collected from 300 randomly selected households in three districts of Zambia in 2004/2005 crop season, this paper first stratifies households into poorly- and well-endowed households based on their access to productive assets and estimates separate double-hurdle models for the adoption of improved, high yielding maize (IHYM) varieties for each group. The results show that factors influencing the adoption and use intensity of IHYM varieties differ between the two groups. This draws attention to the need for recommending wealth group-specific interventions to increase the adoption and use intensity of such varieties and their subsequent impacts on food security and general livelihoods of the households. The explicit testing for the possibility that differences in household wealth affect the way in which other variables influence adoption decisions is the paper's unique contribution to the adoption literature.
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