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Tradeoffs and complementarities in the adoption of improved seeds, fertilizer, and natural resource management technologies in Kenya

Priscilla Wainaina, Songporne Tongruksawattana and Matin Qaim

Agricultural Economics, 2016, vol. 47, issue 3, 351-362

Abstract: There is widespread consensus that agricultural technology has an important role to play for poverty reduction and sustainable development. There is no consensus, however, about the types of technologies that are best suited for smallholder farmers in Africa. While some consider natural resource management (NRM) technologies as most appropriate, others propagate input intensification with a stronger role of the private sector. In the public debate, these two strategies are often perceived as incompatible. Environmental non-governmental organizations in particular consider low-external input strategies as the only sustainable form of agriculture, a view that has considerable influence on policymakers and the international donor community. Most existing research studies on smallholder innovation focus on the adoption of individual technologies, so that comparisons between different types of technologies in the same context are not easily possible. We use representative data from maize-producing households in Kenya and a multivariate probit model to analyze the adoption of different types of technologies simultaneously. Results indicate that NRM technologies and strategies that build on external inputs are not incompatible. Interesting complementarities exist, which are not yet sufficiently exploited because many organizations promote either one type of technology or the other, but rarely a combination of both.

Date: 2016
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