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
Date Written: August 25, 2014
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
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