Adoption of complementary climate-smart agricultural technologies: lessons from Lushoto in Tanzania

Peer Reviewed
11 November 2021

Maurice Juma Ogada, Maren Radeny , John Recha, Solomon Dawit

Background: Agriculture is important for economic growth and development in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania. However, agricultural production and productivity remain relatively low, with significant yield gaps attributed to factors such as limited access to and low adoption of appropriate agricultural technologies, and climate-related risks resulting from climate variability and change. This paper explores the drivers of adoption of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) technologies and practices, taking into account the complementarity among agricultural technologies and heterogeneity of the farm households, using data from Lushoto in Tanzania.

Methods: We use a Multivariate Probit analysis of cross-sectional data collected from 264 smallholder farmers in Lushoto—a climate hotspot in Tanzania—to understand the drivers of household decisions to adopt CSA technologies and practices. The technologies included diversification of multiple stress (drought, foods, pests, diseases)- tolerant crop varieties, use of fertilizers, and application of herbicides and pesticides. The Multivariate Probit model was preferred as it takes into account the inter-relationships of the technologies as well as heterogeneity of the smallholder farmers for more robust estimates. The independent variables used in the analysis included household socio-economic factors such as the relative importance of crop and livestock enterprises, household land size, social capital, access to agricultural credit and weather information, previous experience with fertilizer use and household characteristics (age, education and gender of household head, and household size).

Results: About 63% of the households diversified their crop enterprises, shifting to improved resilient crops and crop varieties. Another 37% adopted fertilizers, while 38% applied pesticides and herbicides. Conditional on the unobservable heterogeneity effects, the results show that household adoption decisions on diversification of multiple stress tolerant crops and crop varieties, fertilizer, and pesticides and herbicides are complementary. In addition, the results confirm existence of unobserved heterogeneity effects leading to varying impact of the explanatory variables on adoption decisions among farmers with similar observable characteristics.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that any effective CSA technology adoption and diffusion strategies and policies should take into account the complementarity of the technologies and heterogeneity of the smallholder farmers. Therefore, inter-related technologies should be promoted as a package or bundled while taking into consideration household and farm-level constraints to adoption.

Keywords: CSA Technology Adoption, Technology Complementarity, Multivariate Probit, Tanzania

EfD Authors
Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Ogada, M. J., Radeny, M., Recha, J., & Dawit, S. (2021). Adoption of complementary climate-smart agricultural technologies: lessons from Lushoto in Tanzania. Agriculture & Food Security, 10(1), 1-10.
Publication | 16 December 2021