Do Organic Inputs in African Subsistence Agriculture Raise Productivity? Evidence from Plot Data of Malawi Household Surveys

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper TI 2014-114/V

56 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014

See all articles by Wouter Zant

Wouter Zant

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: August 25, 2014

Abstract

We exploit plot data from the agricultural module of the third Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS-3) to investigate how organic cultivation techniques contribute to productivity of non-subsidized local maize and what to expect from using organic inputs on a larger scale. We approximate organic inputs with crop combinations and livestock, and use matching techniques for estimating impacts. Productivity of local maize-bean, local maize-groundnut and local maize-nkhwana, each combined with livestock and chemical fertilizer, is shown to be statistically similar to productivity of fertilized maize mono-cropping. Simulations show that large increases in total maize production are potentially feasible under conversion to organic cultivation techniques. Limited availability of labour and livestock are likely constraints.

Keywords: crop productivity, soil fertility, organic inputs, Green Revolution, Malawi, Africa

JEL Classification: Q12, O13, O55

Suggested Citation

Zant, Wouter, Do Organic Inputs in African Subsistence Agriculture Raise Productivity? Evidence from Plot Data of Malawi Household Surveys (August 25, 2014). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper TI 2014-114/V, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2486460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2486460

Wouter Zant (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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