Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute

Lusaka, Zambia

Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute

Lusaka, Zambia
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Mulenga B.P.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Richardson R.B.,Michigan State University | Tembo G.,University of Zambia | Mapemba L.,University of Malawi
Environment and Development Economics | Year: 2014

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) support livelihoods in rural communities through provision of food, fuel, materials, medicines and income from sales. We estimated the contribution of NTFPs to rural household income in Zambia, and used a two-stage tobit alternative model to identify the factors associated with participation in NTFP markets. NTFPs accounted for 35 per cent of household income for participating households, second only to trading. Human capital variables and the value of assets were found to be significant determinants of both participation in business activities related to NTFPs and the associated household income, and the poor were more dependent on NTFPs than wealthier households. The effect of average rainfall underscores the role that NTFPs play in providing a safety net during periods of low crop yields. Rural development policies should recognize the role played by NTFPs in rural livelihoods and the need to balance welfare improvement and sustainable forest management. © Cambridge University Press 2013.

Whitfield S.,University of Leeds | Dixon J.L.,University of Leeds | Mulenga B.P.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Ngoma H.,University of Leeds | Ngoma H.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2015

In the context of broad scale system changes (e.g. climate change) and the prioritisation of impact-at-scale development, there is a particular need for farming systems research (FSR) to improve our understanding of the links between systems at multiple scales. Drawing on three empirical case studies of large-scale agricultural interventions in eastern and southern Africa, we highlight problems that arise from conceiving and justifying interventions on the basis of the simple aggregation of farms into large collective systems. We review changes in the approach and concepts of FSR and point to the value of farming systems concepts that go beyond these aggregations, and find ways to capture the multi-level system dynamics that link on-farm decision making to broader political, social, and environmental changes. Recent attempts at more accurately conceptualising the domain of FSR, and drawing distinctions between 'farms', 'systems', and 'systems of farming', represent a useful contribution to such work. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Sitko N.J.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Jayne T.S.,Michigan State University
Food Policy | Year: 2012

Food price volatility and high transactions costs remain major problems in African food markets. These persistent problems provide a strong theoretical justification for the development of commodity exchanges. However, the majority of African commodity exchanges remain underdeveloped. Through a case study of the Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE), this article explores why agricultural commodity exchanges in the region have thus far failed to develop into sustainable trading platforms and identifies the most important changes needed to enhance their performance.Drawing on interviews and group discussions with the primary participants on ZAMACE, five main factors that impede volumes traded on the ZAMACE exchange are identified and analyzed: (1) the limited success in attracting financial institutions' commitment to commodity exchanges; (2) the anonymous nature of trading on a commodity exchange exacerbates the risks associated with contract non-compliance and opportunistic behavior; (3) the potential for conflict of interest among brokers; (4) the potential for market manipulation in a thinly traded market; and (5) the high fixed costs that are imposed on actors trading in a thin market. Exacerbating all these factors is the unpredictability of government intervention in cereal markets. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Jayne T.S.,Michigan State University | Jayne T.S.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Muyanga M.,Michigan State University | Muyanga M.,Egerton University
Food Security | Year: 2012

This study analyzes the impact of increasing population density in Kenya's rural areas on smallholder behavior and welfare indicators. We first present evidence to explain how land constraints can be emerging within an overall context of apparent land under-utilization. Using data from five panel surveys on 1,146 small-scale farms over the 1997-2010 period, we use econometric techniques to determine how increasing rural population density is affecting farm household behavior and livelihoods. We find that farm productivity and incomes tend to rise with population density up to 600-650 persons per km 2; beyond this threshold, rising population density is associated with sharp declines in farm productivity, total household income, and asset wealth. Currently 14% of Kenya's rural population resides in areas exceeding this population density. The study concludes by exploring the nature of institutional and policy reforms needed to address these development problems. © 2012 The Author(s).

Grabowski P.P.,Michigan State University | Haggblade S.,Michigan State University | Kabwe S.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Tembo G.,University of Zambia
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2014

Despite widespread enthusiasm about conservation agriculture (CA) in Africa, empirical evidence on adoption remains fragmentary. This study examines adoption rates of a critical component of CA, minimum tillage (MT), among 135,000 Zambian cotton farmers by comparing the results of two censuses of cotton lead farmers and buyers conducted in 2002 and again in 2011. The survey results indicate that 13% of cotton farmers used some form of MT in 2011. Among farmer groups interviewed in both years, MT adoption rates increased by about one-third compared to 2002. However, the preferred MT technology packages have changed dramatically. While use of hand-hoe basins has declined, use of ox and tractor-drawn rippers plus herbicides has increased. Tobit regression estimates suggest that four key factors - lead farmer use of MT, number of years of extension efforts, availability of herbicides on credit, and availability of tractor ripper services - all positively influence MT adoption. Zambia's experience likewise underlines the long timeframe required for testing and refining location-specific technology packages that prove both agronomically suitable and commercially attractive for farmers of differing resource endowments. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Jayne T.S.,Michigan State University | Chamberlin J.,Michigan State University | Chamberlin J.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Headey D.D.,International Food Policy Research Institute
Food Policy | Year: 2014

Evidence assembled in this special issue of Food Policy shows that rising rural population densities in parts of Africa are profoundly affecting farming systems and the region's economies in ways that are underappreciated in current discourse on African development issues. This study synthesizes how people, markets and governments are responding to rising land pressures in Africa, drawing on key findings from the various contributions in this special issue. The papers herein revisit the issue of Boserupian agricultural intensification as an important response to land constraints, but they also go further than Boserup and her followers to explore broader responses to land constraints, including non-farm diversification, migration, and reduced fertility rates. Agricultural and rural development strategies in the region will need to more fully anticipate the implications of Africa's rapidly changing land and demographic situation, and the immense challenges that mounting land pressures pose in the context of current evidence of unsustainable agricultural intensification, a rapidly rising labor force associated with the region's current demographic conditions, and limited nonfarm job creation. These challenges are manageable but will require explicit policy actions to address the unique development challenges in densely populated rural areas. © 2014 The Authors.

Sitko N.J.,Michigan State University | Sitko N.J.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute | Jayne T.S.,Michigan State University
Food Policy | Year: 2014

Over the last decade, Zambia has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of medium-scale "emergent farms" cultivating 5-20. ha of land. This study analyzes the factors underpinning this growth. We find that the growth of emergent farmers in Zambia is primarily attributable to land acquisition by salaried urbanites and by relatively privileged rural individuals. We found little evidence to support the hypothesis that the rise of emergent farmers primarily represents a process of successful accumulation by farmers who began farming with less than 5. ha of land, a situation faced by more than 95% of farming households. We argue that these outcomes are the result of Zambia's land administration and agricultural spending policies. Rising concentration of landholdings in Zambia raises serious questions about the potential of current agricultural growth to act as a vehicle for broad based economic growth and poverty reduction. © 2014.

Grabowski P.P.,Michigan State University | Kerr J.M.,Michigan State University | Haggblade S.,Michigan State University | Kabwe S.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2016

Conservation agriculture (CA) is heralded as a means to increase yields and reverse land degradation in sub-Saharan Africa, but low adoption levels have led to concerns about its suitability for smallholder farming systems. Combining data from surveys and semi-structured interviews, we examine farmers’ motivations for adopting CA and the determinants of adoption and disadoption of hand-hoe and oxen-drawn minimum tillage (MT), a key component of CA. Farmers generally hold favorable opinions about MT, though not for its benefits to the soil but primarily for how it reduces crop losses from erratic rainfall. MT use rates in communities with the highest adoption rates are relatively low (12% of cotton area and 20% of maize area) and disadoption is common (25% of all farmers). Many farmers are interested in adopting MT but the available MT technologies do not match their resource endowments. Labor constraints limit use of hand-hoe basins while equipment costs limit ox-ripping. These results show that farmers are not stuck in traditional hoeing and plowing but are carefully evaluating the benefits and costs of adopting MT. Widespread adoption of CA will require adapting MT technologies to match a broader range of resource endowments. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Mason N.M.,Michigan State University | Jayne T.S.,Michigan State University | Mofya-Mukuka R.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute
Agricultural Economics (United Kingdom) | Year: 2013

Over the last decade, subsidies for fertilizer and hybrid maize seed have re-emerged as a cornerstone of the Government of the Republic of Zambia's (GRZ's) agricultural development and poverty reduction strategies. This article reviews the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and other GRZ input subsidy programs since structural adjustment. It then synthesizes existing and presents new empirical evidence on the programs' targeting outcomes and effects. Results suggest that although 73% of smallholder households cultivate less than 2 hectares of land, and that these households constitute 78% of the smallholder farms below the US$1.25/capita/day poverty line, the majority (55%) of FISP fertilizer goes to households that cultivate larger areas. Other factors constant, wealthier households receive more subsidized inputs. Subsidized fertilizer promotes maize intensification and extensification (at the expense of fallow land), but an additional kg of subsidized fertilizer only raises maize output by 1.88 kg on average. As a result of low maize-fertilizer response rates, poor targeting, crowding out, and diversion of fertilizer intended for the program, financial benefit-cost ratios for FISP fertilizer are well below one. The article concludes with recommended reforms to FISP, including that it be downsized and the savings invested in known drivers of pro-poor agricultural growth. © 2013 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

Ricker-Gilbert J.,Purdue University | Mason N.M.,Michigan State University | Darko F.A.,Purdue University | Tembo S.T.,Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute
Agricultural Economics (United Kingdom) | Year: 2013

An important hypothesized benefit of large-scale input subsidy programs in Africa is that by raising maize production, the subsidies should put downward pressure on retail maize prices to the benefit of urban consumers and the rural poor who tend to be net food buyers. To inform debates related to this rationale for input subsidies, this study estimates the effects of fertilizer subsidies on retail maize prices in Malawi and Zambia using market or district-level panel data covering the 2000-2001 to 2011-2012 maize marketing years. Results indicate that roughly doubling the size of Malawi's subsidy program reduces maize prices by 1.2-2.5% on average. In Zambia, roughly doubling the scale of the country's subsidy program reduces maize prices by 1.8-2.8% on average. The results are robust across countries and model specifications, and indicate that the fertilizer subsidy programs in Malawi and Zambia have had a minimal effect on retail maize prices. © 2013 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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