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The Sahel's Silent Maize Revolution: Analyzing Maize Productivity in Mali at the Farm-level

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  • Jeremy D. Foltz
  • Ursula T. Aldana
  • Paul Laris

Abstract

Since independence a quiet revolution has taken place in maize production in the Sahel with Mali increasing production more than ten-fold and yields going up ~2% a year. This research work uses farm level panel data from southern Mali's maize growing regions to demonstrate this success in agricultural production and technological change. We analyze the determinants of production to unpack increases in input use from technological change. The estimations show that farmer adoption of increased fertilizer use has driven much of the productivity growth rather than the adoption of improvements in seeds and management. Additionally, we find strong evidence of observed and unobserved heterogeneity, which affects both the choice of fertilizer amounts and the marginal returns to fertilizer use. The results demonstrate the key changes behind this silent maize revolution and point to the importance of taking into account farmer heterogeneity in estimating productivity and returns to fertilizer.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy D. Foltz & Ursula T. Aldana & Paul Laris, 2012. "The Sahel's Silent Maize Revolution: Analyzing Maize Productivity in Mali at the Farm-level," NBER Working Papers 17801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17801
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    Cited by:

    1. Smale, Melinda & Kergna, Alpha O. & Theriault, Veronique & Assima, Amidou & Keita, Naman, 2016. "Gender, generation and cereal crop intensification in Mali," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235544, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Smale, Melinda & Kergna, Alpha & Thériault, Véronique & Assima, Amidou & Keita, Naman, 2016. "Gender, Generation And Agricultural Intensification: A Case Of Two Cereals In The Sudanian Savanna Of Mali," Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Papers 259505, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security (FSP).
    3. Laris, Paul & Foltz, Jeremy D. & Voorhees, Briton, 2015. "Taking from cotton to grow maize: The shifting practices of small-holder farmers in the cotton belt of Mali," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Theriault, Veronique & Smale, Melinda & Haider, Hamza, 2017. "Maize Yield Response to Fertilizer under Differing Agro-Ecological Conditions in Burkina Faso," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258492, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Haider, Hamza & Smale, Melinda & Thériault, Véronique, 2018. "Yield Response Of Dryland Cereals In Mali To Fertilizer: Insights From Household Survey Data," Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Papers 270642, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security (FSP).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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