Ugandan farmers could make more money by planting improved crops
Researchers report that Ugandan farmers can make more money if they use improved crops. The Ministry of Agriculture can use the results of this study to encourage farmers to use improved crops that can survive pests, diseases and drought.
Agriculture is the source of food for many in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists say climate change brings about pests, diseases and droughts, which threatens food production.
To try and reduce the impacts of climate change, scientists can improve the performance of crops through breeding or genetic engineering, to make them better at, for example, withstanding pests and diseases.
In this study, the researchers investigated why farmers would choose to use improved crops, and the benefits of using them.
They interviewed maize, beans, cassava and groundnuts farmers in the Nwoya District of Uganda.
The researchers reported that large households were more likely to use improved crops. They said this could be because new technologies needed more labour, and larger households had more people to do farm work. Farmers who had more money and equipment were also more likely to use improved crops.
They also said farmers who could easily get agricultural information or knew about climate change were more likely to use improved crops.
The researchers were surprised to find that farmers who knew about demonstration plots were less likely to use improved crops. Farmers use demonstration plots to teach, experiment, and share ideas about agricultural practices. When non-governmental organisations were used to teach farmers about improved crops, the farmers were more likely to listen to them. This was because the organisations and farmers had worked together for many years, whereas demonstration plots are only set up for short times.
Farmers who had stayed in the village for many years and knew many people were more likely to use improved crops.
If farmers used improved crops, they also made more money, said the researchers.
They hope these findings will help authorities find ways to encourage more farmers to use improved crops. This study was done in Uganda, and the researches were based in Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.
This study assessed the adoption of stress-tolerant varieties and their effect on household welfare, measured by net crop income per capita in Nwoya District, Uganda. The stress-tolerant varieties were considered to be climate-smart because they stabilise and increase crop income in the presence of climatic shocks. However, the uptake of the stress-tolerant varieties was still low in northern Uganda, due to bad past experience in terms of the performance of other improved varieties. Using data from a random sample of 585 households, a logistic model was estimated to assess the drivers for adoption of stress-tolerant varieties. In addition, a propensity score matching model was employed to assess causal effects. The second model was estimated because it controls for unobserved heterogeneity caused by self-selection bias. Results showed that adoption of stress-tolerant varieties was positively influenced by household size, access to information from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the perception of future climate change, the number of years an individual had lived in the village, and the number and type of assets owned as an indicator of household well-being. Average treatment effect from results showed that stress-tolerant varieties can increase crop income within a range of United States Dollars (USD) 500–864 per hectare per year, representing an 18–32% increase in crop income. The findings offer justification for scaling up stress tolerant varieties among smallholder farmers in northern Uganda to improve their welfare.
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