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Market Structure, Outgrower contracs and Farm Output. Evidence from Cotton Reforms in Zambia


  • Irene Brambilla
  • Guido Porto


This paper investigates the dynamic impacts of cotton marketing reforms on farm output in rural Zambia. Following liberalization and the elimination of the Zambian cotton marketing board, the sector developed an outgrower scheme whereby cotton firms provided credit, access to inputs and output markets, and technical assistance to the farmers. There are two distinctive phases of the reforms: a failure of the outgrower contracts, due to farmers' debt renegation, firm hold up, and lack of coordination among firms and farms, and a subsequent period of success of the scheme, due to enhanced contract enforcement and commitment. We find interesting dynamics in the sector. During the phase of failure, farmers were pushed back into subsistence and cotton yields per hectare declined. With the improvement of the outgrower scheme, farmers devoted larger shares of land to cash crops, and farm output significantly increased.

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  • Irene Brambilla & Guido Porto, 2005. "Market Structure, Outgrower contracs and Farm Output. Evidence from Cotton Reforms in Zambia," NBER Working Papers 11804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11804
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Delpeuch, Claire & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2013. "Revisiting the “Cotton Problem”—A Comparative Analysis of Cotton Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 209-221.
    2. Depetris Chauvin, Nicolas & Porto, Guido G., 2011. "Market Competition in Export Cash Crops and Farm Income," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126159, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Brambilla, Irene & Porto, Guido, 2016. "Trade, Poverty Eradication, and the Sustainable Development Goals," ADBI Working Papers 629, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. Claire Delpeuch & Antoine Leblois, 2013. "Sub-Saharan African Cotton Policies in Retrospect," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 31(5), pages 617-642, September.
    5. Ragasa, Catherine & Lambrecht, Isabel & Kufoalor, Doreen S., 2018. "Limitations of Contract Farming as a Pro-poor Strategy: The Case of Maize Outgrower Schemes in Upper West Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 30-56.
    6. Shepherd, Ben & Delpeuch, Claire, 2007. "Subsidies and regulatory reform in West African cotton: What are the development stakes?," MPRA Paper 2289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Balat, Jorge & Brambilla, Irene & Porto, Guido, 2009. "Realizing the gains from trade: Export crops, marketing costs, and poverty," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 21-31, June.
    8. Aksoy, M. Ataman & Isik-Dikmelik, Aylin, 2007. "The role of services in rural income : the case of Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4180, The World Bank.
    9. Danzer, Alexander M. & Grundke, Robert, 2016. "Coerced Labor in the Cotton Sector: How Global Commodity Prices (Don't) Transmit to the Poor," IZA Discussion Papers 9971, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Christian K.M. Kingombe, 2012. "Regional Analysis of Eastern Province Feeder Road Project - District level estimation of the Poverty Alleviation Effects of Rural Roads Improvements in Zambia’s Eastern Province," IHEID Working Papers 10-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    11. Delpeuch, Claire & Leblois, Antoine, 2014. "The Elusive Quest for Supply Response to Cash-Crop Market Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Cotton," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 521-537.
    12. Christian K.M. Kingombe, 2012. "The Linkage between Outcome Differences in Cotton Production and Rural Roads Improvements - A Matching Approach," IHEID Working Papers 12-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    13. Christian K.M. Kingombe & Salvatore di Falco, 2012. "The Impact of a Feeder Road Project on Cash Crop Production in Zambia’s Eastern Province between 1997 and 2002, Labour Market and Fiscal Policy," IHEID Working Papers 04-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised 28 Feb 2012.
    14. Balat, Jorge F. & Porto, Guido G., 2005. "The WTO Doha Round, cotton sector dynamics, and poverty trends in Zambia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3697, The World Bank.
    15. Delpeuch, Claire, 2011. "African cotton markets at crossroads : will the price spike turn into a new kick-start ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5847, The World Bank.
    16. KAMINSKI Jonathan & THOMAS Alban, 2009. "Commodity Reform and Extensive Production Growth: Evidence from Burkinabè cotton farmers," LERNA Working Papers 09.01.277, LERNA, University of Toulouse.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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