The impact of conservation agriculture adoption on farmer welfare: a comparative assessment of Kenya and Tanzania

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Mpande, Brian
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African Economic Research Consortium
This paper used propensity score matching (PSM) technique and pooled cross-sectional data from 407 observations with 256 conservation agriculture (CA) adopters and 151 non-adopters from Kenya and Tanzania, to test whether CA causally improves smallholder farmer’s welfare. We find mixed results showing that CA has a statistically significant and positive impact on climate change adaptation, drought resilience, total maize production, food security, number of meals per day, household income, accumulation of productive assets, reduction of gender inequalities, improving social cohesion, reduced forest area cleared and soil health improvement. CA has a negative and statistically significant impact on total agricultural yield, agricultural production costs, and number of food insecure months, CA has no impact on addressing agricultural calendar bottlenecks. Since the cross-country analysis showed higher CA adoption rates in Tanzania relative to Kenya, policy could increase adoption rates in the latter by focussing on the less educated farmers, increasing access to input markets, demonstrating benefits from CA projects, and improving farmer mastery of CA technologies. The findings shed light on the role of sustainable agricultural practices and highlight cross-country experiences of CA technologies in improving the welfare of smallholder farmers.
Conservation agriculture; propensity score matching; welfare; Kenya; Tanzania.