Farm Productivity and Market Structure. Evidence from Cotton Reforms in Zambia

43 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2005

See all articles by Irene Brambilla

Irene Brambilla

Universidad Nacional de La Plata

Guido G. Porto

World Bank; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2005


This paper investigates the impacts of cotton marketing reforms on farm productivity, a key element for poverty alleviation, in rural Zambia. The reforms comprised the elimination of the Zambian cotton marketing board that was in place since 1977. Following liberalization, the sector adopted an outgrower scheme, whereby firms provided extension services to farmers and sold inputs on loans that were repaid at the time of harvest. There are two distinctive phases of the reforms: a failure of the outgrower scheme, and a subsequent period of success of the scheme. Our findings indicate that the reforms led to interesting dynamics in cotton farming. During the phase of failure, farmers were pushed back into subsistence and productivity in cotton declined. With the improvement of the outgrower scheme of later years, farmers devoted larger shares of land to cash crops, and farm productivity significantly increased.

Keywords: cotton marketing reforms, farm productivity

JEL Classification: O12, O13, Q12, Q18

Suggested Citation

Brambilla, Irene and Porto, Guido, Farm Productivity and Market Structure. Evidence from Cotton Reforms in Zambia (July 2005). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 919, Yale Working Papers on Economic Applications and Policy Discussion Paper No. 5, Available at SSRN:

Irene Brambilla (Contact Author)

Universidad Nacional de La Plata ( email )

La Plata, Buenos Aires 1900

Guido Porto

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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