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Non-Traditional Exports, Traditional Constraints: The Adoption and Diffusion of Cash Crops among Smallholders in Guatemala

  • Carletto, Calogero
  • Kirk, Angeli
  • Winters, Paul C.
  • Davis, Benjamin

More than two decades after non-traditional export crops (NTXs) were introduced to the central highlands of Guatemala to link farmers to global markets and foster rural development, this study uses duration analysis to explore how time-varying household characteristics and external trends play into both the adoption and diffusion processes of NTX among smallholders. Adoption was widespread and rapid, which led the project to be hailed as a pro-poor success, reaching all but the smallest landholders. Potential benefits of NTXs have proven to be high, but constraints to sustained adoption also numerous, particularly in the second decade of the period considered. Over time, more than two-thirds of adopters eventually dropped out, reverting back to more traditional crops, or leaving agriculture altogether. Based on a second round of a 20-year panel survey carried out by the authors, the analysis suggests that smallholders are quite responsive to price incentives when making their repeated decision to continue adopting overtime. Also, in line with previous findings, land size does not seem important in the decision to adopt. However, land quality emerges as a significant factor in prolonging NTX production over time. Overall, the findings suggest that, in the long-run, NTX production does not appear to have been as pro-poor as initially hoped, and that institutions and policy interventions were able to only partially offset these difficulties in favor of less endowed farmers.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/7962
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Paper provided by Agricultural Economics Society in its series 81st Annual Conference, April 2-4, 2007, Reading University with number 7962.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aes007:7962
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  1. Winters, Paul & Crissman, Charles C. & Espinosa, Patricio, 2004. "Inducing the adoption of conservation technologies: lessons from the Ecuadorian Andes," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(05), pages 695-719, October.
  2. Calogero Carletto, 2000. "Nontraditional crops and land accumulation among Guatemalan smallholders," FCND briefs 80, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Kebede, Yohannes & Gunjal, Kisan & Coffin, Garth, 1990. "Adoption of new technologies in Ethiopian agriculture: The case of Tegulet-Bulga district Shoa province," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 27-43, April.
  4. Rahm, M. & Huffman, Wallace, 1984. "The Adoption of Reduced Tillage: The Role of Human Capital and Other Variables," Staff General Research Papers 10977, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Carletto, Calogero & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1999. "Sustainability in the Diffusion of Innovations: Smallholder Nontraditional Agro-Exports in Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 345-69, January.
  6. von Braun, Joachim & Hotchkiss, David & Immink, Maarten D. C., 1989. "Nontraditional export crops in Guatemala: effects on production, consumption, and nutrition," Research reports 73, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
  8. Kebede, Yohannes & Gunjal, Kisan & Coffin, Garth, 1990. "Adoption of New Technologies in Ethiopian Agriculture: The Case of Tegulet-Bulga District, Shoa Province," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 4(1), April.
  9. Leggesse Dadi & Michael Burton & Adam Ozanne, 2004. "Duration Analysis of Technological Adoption in Ethiopian Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 613-631.
  10. Asfaw, Abay & Admassie, Assefa, 2004. "The role of education on the adoption of chemical fertiliser under different socioeconomic environments in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 215-228, May.
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