Estimating the Resiliency of Zambian Smallholder Farmers: Evidence from a Three-Wave Panel

Aggregate African agricultural production is expected to fall due to changes in temperature and rainfall under current economic models, but 65 percent of the African labor force is employed in agriculture activity. Therefore, climatic changes have the potential to significantly impact all African citizens, especially farmers. Agricultural producers must adapt to these climatic changes and the risk filled environment that rural households operate, especially small-holder farmers, which makes them particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity without successful adaptation. The limited success of improving agricultural technology in Zambia makes it important to understand the determinants of changes in farm yield for major staple crops, including maize, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, and cassava. This paper generates an empirical model of the determinants of changes in farm yields using a three wave panel dataset for three agricultural seasons. Results indicate that over households have made minimal changes in crop choice and little impact has been observed due to changes in climate for Zambian farmers. Increases in yearly average rainfall and temperature positively affect maize yields. As temperatures continue to rise in the future, this relationship may not hold as the climate becomes unsuitable for large scale maize production. Changes in rainfall negatively affect household groundnut and sweet potato production which might result from switching between crops as weather changes. Finally, increased temperatures negatively affect cassava production.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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