Commodity Reform and Extensive Production Growth: Evidence from Burkinabè Cotton Farmers
Over the 1996-2006 period, Burkina Faso has experienced a reform of its cotton sector, and has become the largest African cotton producer and exporter. The cotton “boom” consisted of a rapid expansion of cotton areas through the growth of land shares allocated to cotton (and new producers), together with an overall increase in total cultivated land. In this paper, we present an empirical framework to determine the contribution of total farmland changes in the increase of land dedicated to cotton, where both processes are represented by ordered endogenous variables. The empirical framework is supported by a conceptual model which takes into account the specific institutional features of the Burkina Faso rural cotton economy and builds upon data collected in rural Burkina Faso in March 2006. From measurable indicators of farmer behavior and variables that measure farmer statements for the reasons of this behavior, we are able to identify both direct and indirect effects of the cotton reform on the extensive growth of cotton seed production. They are namely mechanization and technical assistance, labor intensification, enhanced managerial abilities (learning by doing and better environment for farmers), production incentives arising from the new local organizations of producers, guarantees and confidence stemming from the sector and an easier access to agricultural inputs. They all can be attributed to better institutional arrangements between producers and stakeholders which have been established during the reform.
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