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The impact of agricultural extension services in the context of a heavily subsidized input system: The case of Malawi

Catherine Ragasa () and John Mazunda

World Development, 2018, vol. 105, issue C, 25-47

Abstract: This paper examines the interplay between Malawi’s input subsidy and access to extension services, and the impact of both on farm productivity and food security using Malawi’s Integrated Household Panel Survey. A correlated random effects (CRE) device is used, and consistency and robustness of results are checked using various other estimation models. The receipt of fertilizer and seed subsidies is shown to have an inconsistent impact on farm productivity and food security; at the same time, access to agricultural advice is consistently insignificant in explaining these. Further analysis, however, shows a statistically significant and strong association with farm productivity and food security when access to extension services is unpacked to include indicators of usefulness and farmers’ satisfaction. Households that reported receipt of “very useful” agricultural advice had greater productivity and greater food security compared to those that reported receipt of advice that they considered not useful and those that did not receive any advice at all. This result implies the need to ensure the provision of relevant and useful agricultural advice to increase the likelihood of achieving agricultural development outcomes.

Keywords: Extension services; Fertilizer subsidy; Agricultural productivity; Food security; Impact assessment; Sub-Saharan Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q16 Q12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: The impact of agricultural extension services in the context of a heavily subsidized input system: The case of Malawi (2016) Downloads
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