nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2009‒09‒19
twelve papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. What are the Key Constraints in Technical Efficiency of Smallholder Farmers in Africa? Empirical Evidence from Kenya By Owuor, George; Shem, Ouma A.
  2. Can Group Based Credit Uphold Smallholder Farmers Productivity and Reduce Poverty in Africa? Empirical Evidence from Kenya By Owuor, George
  3. Causality between external debt and capital flight in Sub-Saharan Africa By Fofack, Hippolyte
  4. The long-run impacts of adult deaths on older household members in Tanzania By Adhvaryu, Achyuta R.; Beegle, Kathleen
  5. What Influences Price Efficiency in Indigenous Chicken Markets in Africa? Evidence from Smallholder Farmers in Kenya By George, Owuor; Bocklain, Bebe
  6. Assessing the impact of agricultural research on farmer's knowledge about African animal trypanosomosis : An application of the propensity score matching approach By Liebenehm, Sabine; Affognon, Hippolyte; Waibel, Hermann
  8. Compliance with international food safety standards as an outcome of a Nash bargaining process: a case study on Kenyan small scale green beans farms By Nimenya, Nicodeme; de Frahan, Bruno Henry; Ndimira, Pascal-Firmin
  9. Soil Erosion Control and Damage Costs in Nigerian Small Farms: Implications for Farm Growth and Sustainability By Okoye, Chukwuemeka U.
  10. Revising the roads investment strategy in rural areas : an application for Uganda By Raballand, Gael; Macchi, Patricia; Merotto, Dino; Petracco, Carly
  11. The Persistence of Small Farms and Poverty Levels in Nigeria: An Empirical Analysis By Apata, T.G.; Rahji, M.A.Y.; Samuel, K.D.; Igbalajobi, O.A
  12. Impact of Public Market Information System (PMIS) on Farmers Food Marketing Decisions: Case of Benin By Kpenavoun Chogou, Sylvain; Lebailly, Philippe; Adegbidi, Anselme; Gandonou, Esaie

  1. By: Owuor, George; Shem, Ouma A.
    Abstract: The idea that smallholder farmers are reasonably efficient has triggered much debate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, efficiency of smallholder farmers has implications for choice of development strategy; reason being that Sub-Saharan countries derive over 60% of their livelihoods from smallholder agriculture and rural economic activities. This paper evaluates factors that promote production efficiency among smallholder farmers in Kenya as avenues for policy intervention. A production frontier function was fitted to a random sample derived from a survey carried in 2007. Results show that all conventional inputs had the expected significance. On the inefficiency indicators, ownership to farmland, attendance to agricultural workshops, access to credit and participation in self-help groups significantly reduced inefficiency, while age, market distance, female gender and formal education increased inefficiency. Our findings suggest that within the available technologies, farmers can improve on their productivity if they nurture teamwork as in groups where labour is shared. Besides, better roads would reduce transaction costs and promote higher returns, and training in agriculture would boost efficient resources use for better performance. Therefore, there exists opportunity to improve efficiency in production given existing farm technologies.
    Keywords: Technical Efficiency, Smallholder Farmers, Africa, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2009–08–20
  2. By: Owuor, George
    Abstract: With access to formal credit proving almost impossible to smallholder farmers, group based lending is steadily becoming popular in Africa. However, little is documented on the role of such programmes. In this paper, we employ propensity score matching and endogenous switching regime methods on a sample of 600 smallholder farmers drawn from two agricultural regions in Kenya in 2007. The goal of the survey was to evaluate the economic impact of group based credit programmes on smallholder farmersâ productive performance and poverty reduction in Kenya. Our findings reveal gains with significant impacts of group based credit on incomes in the range of 300 and 480 euros as well as via purchased inputs, with participation in such credit programmes significantly constrained by low literacy levels prevalent among a majority of rural farm households, influence of gender, with female headed households dominating in membership and little participation on the part of male headed households, poor rural access road infrastructure and constraints in group management resulting from lack of cohesion as the group grows in membership. These factors form the key recommendations for policy intervention to achieve sustainability of group based informal lending among farm households in Africa and other similar developing nations.
    Keywords: Informal Micro-Finance, Smallholder Farmers, Performance in Kenya, Agricultural Finance, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Labor and Human Capital, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2009–08–20
  3. By: Fofack, Hippolyte
    Abstract: Over the past few decades, the foreign liabilities of the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have grown dramatically, propelling most nations into the status of Highly Indebted Poor Countries, when these liabilities reached unsustainable levels in the 1990s. At the same time, increases in capital flight from the region followed a parallel trend, leading scholars to draw on"revolving door"models to explain the apparent positive covariation of external debt and capital flight in the region. This paper investigates the causality between external debt and capital flight in a cross-section of Sub-Saharan African countries using co-integration and error-correction models. Although dual causality, which is consistent with the revolving door hypothesis, cannot be rejected for the majority of countries, empirical evidence highlights the lead of external debt over capital flight. The significance of error-correction terms points to a long-run co-integrating relationship between external debt and capital flight in a large number of countries.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,External Debt,Debt Markets,Deposit Insurance,Currencies and Exchange Rates
    Date: 2009–09–01
  4. By: Adhvaryu, Achyuta R.; Beegle, Kathleen
    Abstract: HIV/AIDS is drastically changing the demographic landscape in high-prevalence countries in Africa. The prime-age adult population bears the majority of the mortality burden. These “missing” prime-age adults have implications for the socioeconomic well-being of surviving family members. This study uses a 13-year panel from Tanzania to examine the impacts of prime-age mortality on the time use and health outcomes of older adults, with a focus on long-run impacts and gender dimensions. Prime-age deaths are weakly associated with increases in working hours of older women when the deceased adult was co-resident in the household. The association is strongest when the deceased adult was living with the elderly individual at the time of death and for deaths in the distant past, suggesting that shorter-run studies may not capture the full extent of the consequences of adult mortality for survivors. Holding more assets seems to buffer older adults from having to work more after these shocks. Most health indicators are not worse for older adults when a prime-age household member died, although more distant adult deaths are associated with an increased probability of acute illness for the surviving elderly. For deaths of children who were not residing with their parents at baseline, the findings show no impact on hours worked or health outcomes.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Gender and Health,Demographics,Gender and Social Development
    Date: 2009–09–01
  5. By: George, Owuor; Bocklain, Bebe
    Abstract: This study explored appropriate options for smallholders to maximise market price for Indigenous chicken products in rural and urban markets in Western Kenya (Rongo, Homabay and Kisii in 2008 with results revealing that, the major participants along the indigenous chicken supply chains are village brokers, distant traders, and urban assemblers, who eventually sell hotels, butchers and households. Buyers preferred hens followed by cocks, and attached greater preference on weight and high market prices. The price differential was un-uniform, with the larger differentials recorded between farmers and the middlemen. Turnover and losses were however the key determinants of the selling price. The study thus recommends training of farmers on the market linkages and on accessing market information about final consumer prices and preferences. Last, but not least, interventions to empower farmers to carry out selection for improved weight through feeding should be encouraged.
    Keywords: Indigenous chicken, market efficiency, Kenya, Agribusiness, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2009–08–27
  6. By: Liebenehm, Sabine; Affognon, Hippolyte; Waibel, Hermann
    Abstract: Ex-post evaluation of agricultural research is aimed to empirically provide evidence of past investmentsâ effectiveness. This paper is intended to measure the immediate impact of livestock research activities on cattle farmersâ knowledge about trypanosomosis and its therapeutic and preventive control strategies. According to the quasi-experimental design of the intervention, it is shown that its impact will be adequately estimated by propensity score matching (PSM). Based on data collected according to a knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) questionnaire in the region of Kénédougou that is common to Mali and Burkina Faso, results indicate a significant gain in farmersâ know-how due to participation in livestock research activities.
    Keywords: African animal trypanosomosis (AAT), knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP), propensity score matching (PSM), Livestock Production/Industries, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods,
    Date: 2009–10
  7. By: Asumugha, G.N.; Kormawa, P.M.; de Haan, N.C.
    Abstract: This study addressed the issue of gender and agricultural commercialization among smallholders in Nigeria with ginger as a case study. It focused on the relative or absolute roles, gains and losses by men and women farmers as a result of commercializing small ginger farm. Ginger is a crop grown mainly for cash in Nigeria. Nigerian ginger is known to produce very high quality essential oils mainly oleoresin and gingerol used in confectionery and pharmaceutical industries. Men take decision mostly on ginger production while ginger marketing is more of the womenâs job. Women income is devoted to food and children care while men take care of education of the children. There is increased income and improved health facilities to members of the household. There are, however, increases in workload and responsibility for men for major decisions while women play major role in decision during maintenance of ginger field.
    Keywords: Nigerian Ginger, Commercialization, Gender impacts, Agribusiness, Consumer/Household Economics,
    Date: 2009–08–27
  8. By: Nimenya, Nicodeme; de Frahan, Bruno Henry; Ndimira, Pascal-Firmin
    Abstract: This study provides a stylized model on âExit, voice and loyaltyâ as alternative strategic responses taken by Kenyan green beans farmers in the context of new and more stringent international food safety standards. On the analytical side, we use the Nash bargaining theory where the exporter and a representative grower bargain over the product quality level and the premium producer price. The comparative statics analysis shows that the producer bargaining power unlike the compliance costs has, ceteris paribus, a positive effect on the equilibrium quality level while these exogenous variables have ambiguous effects on producer price at equilibrium. Empirical results from logit model estimation with survey data at farmlevel in Kenya show that households with highly educated members, access to credit and relatively large-size farms are more likely to participate in the certified supply chain. Off-farm income, live assets and distance of public services from the farm do not influence the compliance. In terms of policy implications, education and credit access could play an important role in the capacity-building of small-scale growers associations through public private partnership.
    Keywords: bargaining, small-scale farm, voice, Agribusiness, Consumer/Household Economics, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, D18, O17, O33, Q13, Q17,
    Date: 2009–08–24
  9. By: Okoye, Chukwuemeka U.
    Abstract: In Nigeria 90% of the agricultural primary produce is in the hands of small holders cultivating between 0.8-4 hectares. Farm size expansion is limited by population pressure, land fragmentation, poor market opportunities and lack of finance. This article presents estimates of soil erosion control(SEC) and soil erosion damage costs (SEDC) in small farmers' fields in Nigeria and examines the contents and direction of the countryâs agriculture and environment policies vis-à-vis the SEC among small farmers. It was found that 24% of the farmersâ spending on tillage/cultural practices was directed at the institution of SEC measures, and that SEC-related defensive expenditures was 3.7 times more than the estimated SEDCs. The capacity of small farmers to respond to soil degradation is severely limited. Most SEC measures deployed derive from non-tradable inputs blurred by incomplete/missing markets for environmental assets. Yet farm development and environmental policies in Nigeria have dwelt on supply-side interventions based on marketable inputs, and have been largely ineffective. Policy and institutional reforms are needed to increase and focus support to farmers to increase defensive expenditures for SEC.
    Keywords: Soil erosion, damage costs, farm growth, Environmental Economics and Policy, Production Economics,
    Date: 2009–08–27
  10. By: Raballand, Gael; Macchi, Patricia; Merotto, Dino; Petracco, Carly
    Abstract: Based on extensive data collection in Uganda, this paper demonstrates that the rural access index, as defined today, should not be a government objective because the benefit of such investment is minimal, whereas achieving rural accessibility at less than 2 kilometers would require massive investments that are not sustainable. Taking into account the fact that plot size is limited on average to less than 1 hectare, a farmer’s transport requirement is usually minimal and does not necessarily involve massive investments in infrastructure. This is because most farmers cannot fully load a truck or pay for this service and, even if productivity were to increase significantly, the production threshold would not be reached by most individual farmers. Therefore, in terms of public policy, maintenance of the existing rural roads rather than opening new roads should be given priority; the district feeder road allocation maintenance formula should be revised to take into account economic potential and, finally, policy makers should devote their attention to innovative marketing models from other countries where smallholder loads are consolidated through private-based consolidators.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Rural Roads&Transport,Roads&Highways,Rural Transport,Markets and Market Access
    Date: 2009–09–01
  11. By: Apata, T.G.; Rahji, M.A.Y.; Samuel, K.D.; Igbalajobi, O.A
    Abstract: Small farmers are one of the more disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in Nigeria. Studies have shown that majority of people living in absolute poverty can be found on small farms with half in this group undernourished. The study examined heterogeneity in circumstances and diversity in rural agriculture, the persistence of small farms, poverty and institutional development and facilities. Data for this study came from Nigerian living Standard Survey (NLSS) which covered the two periods 1994/2004. The data set consists of 9550 respondentsâ but only 8264 cases were useful for this study. The index of heterogeneity at 29.1 indicated persistence of small farms in the two periods under consideration. Persistence of small farms and poverty are closely related (r = 0.674). The poverty differential in the two surveys data revealed that poverty increased by 14.72%. Disaggregation analysis indicated that institutional development and facilities improved farm outputs, diversification to non-farm and reduction in poverty. Access to these institutional facilities can enable the small farmers to rearticulate their livelihood activities. Policy makers need to show more commitment to develop agriculture through identifying and providing the capacity need of small farmers in order for them to absorb and used whatever modern techniques introduced.
    Keywords: Heterogeneity index, Poverty Differential, Institutional Development, Structural Constraints, Nigeria, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Development,
    Date: 2009–08–24
  12. By: Kpenavoun Chogou, Sylvain; Lebailly, Philippe; Adegbidi, Anselme; Gandonou, Esaie
    Abstract: To sell their surpluses of maize, the main staple in Benin, farmers may choose among three modes of transaction: they may sell under a contract with itinerant traders, or they may sell without a contract at the farmgate or on distant markets. It has been postulated that farmers may choose a profitable mode of transaction if they have good access to information on the prevailing market conditions. Using detailed farm household survey data from Benin, this paper applies the Nested Logit model to test this hypothesis. The results show that farmers are likely to opt for selling at the farmgate without a contract if they have good access to information. However, such a decision may not be related to access to information through the government supported âPublic Market Information System' but rather it is likely to be induced by access to information through farmersâ own social networks.
    Keywords: Public Market Information System, farmers, modes of transaction, liberalization, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2009–08–24

This nep-afr issue is ©2009 by Quentin Wodon. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.