The Impact of Agricultural Technology Adoption on Poverty: The case of NERICA rice varieties in Benin
This study examines the relationship between agricultural technology adoption and poverty with a focus on New Rice varieties for Africa (NERICA). The NERICAs are a group of rice varieties developed by the Africa Rice Centre during the 1990s, resulting from the inter-specific crosses between the Oryza sativa high yielding rice species from Asia and the locally adapted and multiple-stress resistant Oryza glaberrima African rice species. They are believed to provide great hope for African agriculture. Introduced in Benin in 1998, there has been no published analysis on the impact of their adoption by farmers. The paper uses the counterfactual outcomes framework of modern evaluation theory to estimate the Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) of NERICA adoption on household expenditure among 268 households from rural Benin. Results indicate that the adoption of NERICA varieties has a positive and significant impact on household expenditure. Furthermore, the impact is higher among female-headed households (161.75 FCFA/day) than male-headed households (128.34 FCFA/day). The findings suggest that there is a scope for reducing poverty through the accelerated adoption of NERICA varieties by farmers.
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