Determinants of Agricultural Technology adoption: the case of improved groundnut varieties in Malawi
This paper applies the Average Treatment Effect (ATE) framework on data obtained from a random cross-section sample of 594 farmers in Malawi to document the actual and potential adoption rates of improved groundnut varieties and their determinants conditional on farmers’ awareness of the technology. The fact that not all farmers are exposed to the new technologies makes it difficult to obtain consistent estimates of population adoption rates and their determinants using direct sample estimates and classical adoption models such as probit or tobit. Our approach tries to control for exposure and selection bias in assessing the adoption rate of technology and its determinants. Results indicate that only 26% of the sampled farmers grew at least one of the improved groundnut varieties. The potential adoption rate of improved groundnut for the population is estimated at 37% and the adoption gap resulting from the incomplete exposure of the population to the improved groundnut is 12%. We further find that the awareness of improved varieties is mainly influenced by information access variables, while adoption is largely influenced by economic constraints. The findings are indicative of the relatively large unmet demand for improved groundnut varieties suggesting that there is scope for increasing the adoption rate of improved groundnut varieties in Malawi once the farmers are made aware of the technologies and if other constraints such as lack of access to credit are addressed.
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