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Productivity And Production Risk Effects Of Adopting Drought-tolerant Maize Varieties In Zambia

Emily Amondo, Franklin Simtowe, Dil Bahadur Rahut, Olaf Erenstein

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Purpose Productivity and production risks affect the use of agricultural production practices and inputs, particularly in developing countries. This paper aims to investigate the effects of adopting drought-tolerant maize varieties (DTMVs) on farm productivity, yield variance and downside risk exposure of maize growing households of Zambia. Design/methodology/approach The study uses household survey data collected from 11 maize producing districts of Eastern, Southern and Copperbelt provinces of Zambia using a structured questionnaire. The Antle’s flexible moment-based approach was used in specifying, estimating and testing a stochastic production function. The study further applied an endogenous switching regression model to control for both observable and unobservable sources of bias. Findings The study revealed that DTMV adoption increases maize yield by 15 per cent and reduces the risk of crop failure: reducing yield variance by 38 per cent and exposure to downside risk by 36 per cent. Originality/value This study establishes the benefits of DTMV adoption in Zambia with regards to productivity, yield stability and downside risk in the face of climate change. Results from this study underscore the need for more concerted efforts to scale-out DTMVs for both maize productivity enhancement and for risk mitigation against weather shocks.