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Low Quality, Low Returns, Low Adoption: Evidence from the Market for Fertilizer and Hybrid Seed in Uganda

Listed author(s):
  • Bold, Tessa
  • Kaizzi, Kayuki
  • Svensson, Jakob
  • Yanagizawa-Drott, David

To reduce poverty and food insecurity in Africa requires raising productivity in agriculture. Systematic use of fertilizer and hybrid seed is a pathway to increased productivity, but adoption of these technologies remains low. We investigate whether the quality of agricultural inputs can help explain low take-up. Testing modern products purchased in local markets, we find that 30% of nutrient is missing in fertilizer, and hybrid maize seed contains less than 50% authentic seeds. We document that such low quality results in negative average returns. If authentic technologies replaced these low-quality products, average returns for smallholder farmers would be over 50%.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10743.

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Date of creation: Aug 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10743
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  1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
  2. Lori Beaman & Dean Karlan & Bram Thuysbaert & Christopher Udry, 2013. "Profitability of Fertilizer: Experimental Evidence from Female Rice Farmers in Mali," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 381-386, May.
  3. Dean Karlan & Robert Osei & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Christopher Udry, 2014. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 597-652.
  4. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
  5. Carl Shapiro, 1982. "Consumer Information, Product Quality, and Seller Reputation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 20-35, Spring.
  6. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2010. "Microeconomics of Technology Adoption," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 395-424, 09.
  7. Nkonya, Ephraim & Kaizzi, Crammer & Pender, John, 2005. "Determinants of nutrient balances in a maize farming system in eastern Uganda," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 155-182, August.
  8. Tavneet Suri, 2009. "Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption," NBER Working Papers 15346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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