Less than a third of rural Niger farmers use improved crops
Researchers reported that only a small number of rural farmers in Niger use improved crops, and this depends on factors like land ownership, farm size, education level, gender, soil type, or access to improved seeds.
The government can use these findings to inform how they encourage farmers to use improved crops, which mature quicker and can resist pests and drought.
Researchers say that if farmers in poor or developing communities can plant improved crop varieties, they can increase their yields, and reduce poverty.
However, in countries like Niger, many farmers are not keen to use improved crops.
In this study, the researchers sought to understand why rural farmers would choose to use or not use improved crops.
They looked at information on rural farmers that was collected during the 2014 national survey on households and agriculture. The researchers checked whether there was any link between farmers’ use of improved crops and factors like their socioeconomic characteristics, location, farm quality, production system, access to improved seeds and land lease status.
The researchers found out that only 27.5% of farmers used improved crops, and only 1.85% of the farmers received improved seed donations from the government.
Most rural farmers were more likely to use improved crops if they owned government land. So too were women, people who were educated, people who could access improved seeds and people who planted different crops in their farms.
The researchers found that farmers with large households and large farms were less likely to use improved crops. Farmers who had been operating on a piece of land for a long time were also less likely to use improved crops. They said this may be because the farmers knew their farms and had a wide choice of crop varieties.
Farmers in areas with rocky grounds were more likely to use improved crops than those on non-rocky, clay or loam soils.
The researchers said the government needed to consider the above factors when they encourage rural farmers to use improved crops.
They recommended more research on Niger’s mixed crop-livestock farming that includes improved crops. This research adds to a body of knowledge that may help boost food production in sub-Saharan countries.
Improved crops are advocated to meet the dual challenge of food security and the fight against poverty in developing countries. As most poor people in developing countries live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood, an important key to get them out of poverty is to increase agricultural productivity by using technologies such as improved crops. However, the rate of improved crops adoption remains surprisingly low in Niger, one of the world poorest countries. In this paper, we examine the factors affecting adoption of improved crops by rural farmers focusing on Niger. Using the 2014’s National Survey on Households Living Conditions and Agriculture, we investigate the effect of farmers’ socioeconomic characteristics, the farm’s quality, the geographic location, the production system, the access to improved seeds and the land tenure on the probability to use improved crops rather than local crops. Our results suggest that the ownership of a government land title is the most important driver in the adoption of improved crops by rural farmers. In addition, being a female, educated, practicing polyculture, having access to improved seed increase the probability to adopt improved crops. In contrast, household size, operating on the parcel for a long period and the parcel size reduces the probability to use improved crops. These determinants of improved crops adoption should be considered in Niger’s agricultural policy to succeed in the dissemination of improved crops among rural farmers.
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