NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Can Smallholder Extension Transform African Agriculture?

Joshua W. Deutschmann, Maya Duru, Kim Siegal, Emilia Tjernström

NBER Working Paper No. 26054
Issued in July 2019
NBER Program(s):The Development Economics Program, The Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

Agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lags far behind all other regions of the world. A long list of policy experiments has yielded more evidence on what fails than on what works. We analyze a randomized control trial of a rare scaled-up success story: One Acre Fund’s small farmer program. Much like anti-poverty "graduation" interventions, the program aims to relax multiple constraints to productivity simultaneously. We show that participation causes statistically and economically significant increases in output, yields, and profits. In our preferred specification, maize production increases by 24% and profits by 16%. We find little evidence of heterogeneous treatment effects on yields, but observe some attenuation of impacts on total output and profits at the top end of the distribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26054

 
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