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Can Big Companies' Initiatives to Promote Mechanization Benefit Small Farms in Africa? A Case Study from Zambia

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  • Birner, R.
  • Adu-Baffour, F.
  • Daum, T.

Abstract

After many years of neglect, there is a renewed interest in agricultural mechanization in Africa. This paper analyzes an initiative of the company John Deere and its dealer AFGRI to promote smallholder mechanization in Zambia. The analysis focuses on the impact of this initiative on smallholder farmers who receive tractor services and on the demand for hired labor. The results of a Propensity Score Matching (PSM) analysis indicate that farmers who access tractor services for land preparation can almost double their income by cultivating a much larger share of the land that they own. The analysis also suggests that the increased income is used for children s education and for purchasing more food, but does not result in increased food diversity. The findings indicate that the demand for hired labor increases due to the expansion of the cultivated area and due to a shift from family labor, including that of children, to hired labor. Questions that require further investigation are identified, including strategies to increase the incentives of tractor owners to provide services to smallholders; and strategies to avoid new forms of dependency of agricultural laborers that may result from a shift in the timing of the labor demand. Acknowledgement : We would like to thank all persons who were interviewed for this study. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support, which was provided by the "Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI)", a program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). We are also grateful to The Deere & Company, which enabled this study and funded the fieldwork of two Master students.

Suggested Citation

  • Birner, R. & Adu-Baffour, F. & Daum, T., 2018. "Can Big Companies' Initiatives to Promote Mechanization Benefit Small Farms in Africa? A Case Study from Zambia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277288, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277288
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277288
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