Output Diversification Among Small-Scale Hillside Farmers In El Salvador
In this study we analyze the degree of output diversification (anything produced in the farm that is not a subsistence crop, i.e., corn or beans) among 520 hillside farmers in El Salvador. Half of those farmers have participated in the Environmental Program for El Salvador (PAES) implemented between 1998 and 2005. This study is an ex-post evaluation of PAES for which there was no baseline and no randomized control group. Therefore, quasi-experimental techniques were applied to select the treatment and comparison groups after the intervention occurred. Matching techniques were employed to construct a comparison group that resembles the treatment group based on observed characteristics while statistical controls were applied to measure differences on diversification for the treatment group at two points in time (2002 and 2005) and between the treatment and comparison groups at a given point in time (2005), allowing for before-after and with-without comparisons. Count regression models are used to econometrically estimate diversification, while Probit models evaluate factors associated with disadoption of a diversified cropping system over the 2002-2005 period. Overall, more diversified farm plans are positively associated with farm size, schooling, participation in communal organizations, and with the frequency of extension visits, which captures the PAES intervention. Also, farmers involved with PAES have significantly increased the number of agricultural activities in their farms between 2002 and 2005. The Probit model estimated to examine disadoption indicates that schooling, frequency of extension visits, erosion perception and participation in communal organizations are significant contributors to reducing the probability of disadoption of diversification. In turn, disadoption is significantly associated with farm size and land tenure.
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