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Input subsidies and improved maize varieties in Malawi: -What can we learn from the impacts in a drought year?

Author

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  • Holden, Stein

    () (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

  • Mangisoni, Julius

    (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Abstract

After six years with a large scale Farm Input Subsidy Program that enhanced national and household food security high costs resulted in a cut-back of the program in 2011/12 at the same time as the country was hit by a more serious drought in form of a dry spell in the rainy season. This study used household and farm plot level data combined with choice experiments to assess the impacts of the cut-back of the program and the drought on maize production and the performance of different maize varieties. The demand for improved maize seeds and adoption constraints were investigated and so was the knowledge and use of conservation technologies that in recent years have been introduced by a national level extension program. One of the effects of the cut-back is that the standard package is split and shared by two or more households. The drought resulted in a reduction in maize yields of 400 kg/ha. Many of the most commonly used hybrid maize varieties performed significantly better than local maize with yields about 600 kg/ha higher than local maize. About 4.3% of the maize plots were planted with the new ZM523 drought tolerant maize variety but it did not perform better than the hybrid maize varieties and has not yet become one of the popular varieties that are in high demand. About 35% of the households stated that they failed to obtain the most preferred maize variety and these were among the most commonly grown varieties, showing that there is scope for increased adoption of such varieties. Cash constraints and high prices for improved maize and fertilizer are limiting adoption, however, and continue to be a challenge for sustainable intensification of the maize-based production system. Newly introduced conservation technologies appear promising as one way to reduce the vulnerability to drought and enhance the fertilizer use efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Holden, Stein & Mangisoni, Julius, 2013. "Input subsidies and improved maize varieties in Malawi: -What can we learn from the impacts in a drought year?," CLTS Working Papers 7/13, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2013_007
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    File URL: http://www.umb.no/statisk/clts/papers/CLTS_WP7_2013.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chirwa, Themba G., 2010. "Program evaluation of agricultural input subsidies in Malawi using treatment effects: Methods and practicability based on propensity scores," MPRA Paper 20878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kaliba, Aloyce R. & Verkuijl, Hugo & Mwangi, Wilfred, 2000. "Factors Affecting Adoption Of Improved Maize Seeds And Use Of Inorganic Fertilizer For Maize Production In The Intermediate And Lowland Zones Of Tanzania," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(01), April.
    3. Franklin Simtowe & Manfred Zeller & Aliou Diagne, 2009. "The impact of credit constraints on the adoption of hybrid maize in Malawi," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 90(1), pages 5-22.
    4. Girma T. Kassie & Augustine Langyintuo & Olaf Erenstein & Debrah Maleni & Simon Gwara & Tsedeke Abate, 2013. "Drought Risk and Maize Production in Southern Africa," Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(10), pages 956-973, October.
    5. Stein Holden & Rodney Lunduka, 2012. "Do fertilizer subsidies crowd out organic manures? The case of Malawi," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 303-314, May.
    6. Chibwana, Christopher & Shively, Gerald & Fisher, Monica & Jumbe, Charles & Masters, William A., 2014. "Measuring the impacts of Malawi’s farm input subsidy programme," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 9(2), April.
    7. Sandmo, Agnar, 1971. "On the Theory of the Competitive Firm under Price Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 65-73, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Holden, Stein, 2014. "Agricultural Household Models for Malawi:Household Heterogeneity, Market Characteristics, Agricultural Productivity, Input Subsidies, and Price Shocks. A Baseline Report," CLTS Working Papers 5/14, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    2. Katengeza, Samson P. & Holden, Stein T. & Lunduka, Rodney W., 2016. "Adoption of Drought Tolerant Maize Varieties under Rainfall Stress in Malawi," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246907, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    3. Chibwana, Christopher & Shively, Gerald & Fisher, Monica & Jumbe, Charles & Masters, William A., 2014. "Measuring the impacts of Malawi’s farm input subsidy programme," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 9(2), April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Improved maize varieties; drought; drought tolerance; input subsidies; leakage of input subsidies; targeting of subsidies; maize yields; conservation technologies; demand for maize seeds;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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