Global Poverty Research Group

Extension services and farm productivity in Zimbabwe

Overview

In this project a group of researchers working on rural households in Zimbabwe have revisited the contested issue of the impact of agricultural extension on farm production. We exploit two features of the data available to us: its longitudinal nature and explicit measures of farmer ability. We find that after controlling for innate productivity characteristics and farmer ability either using household fixed effects estimation, or by including a measure of farmer ability and village fixed effects, access to agricultural extension services, defined as receiving one or two visits per agricultural year, raises the value of crop production by about 15 per cent. This parameter estimate is statistically significant. However, we also find variability in these parameter estimates across individual crop years, with the impact being markedly different in drought and non-drought years. Collectively, these results suggest that although access to farm-level extension visits does increase productivity even after controlling for innate productivity characteristics and farmer ability, results from single-year cross-sectional studies should be treated with caution.

Recent publications

Owens, T., J. Hoddinott and B. Kinsey, ‘The impact of agricultural extension on farm production in resettlement areas of Zimbabwe’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, forthcoming, 2003.

Reseachers to contact for this project

Trudy Owens