Impacts of improved sorghum varieties on farm families in Mali: A Multivalued Treatment Effects approach

Uptake of improved sorghum seed in Mali remains relatively limited, despite the economic importance of the crop. We first explore the adoption by Malian farm families of improved sorghum seed, differentiating between improved varieties and recently released sorghum hybrids, which are based largely on local Guinea materials developed through participatory, on-farm testing. We then examine impacts on farm families with a multivalued treatment effects model. Analysis is based on primary data collected from 628 farm families in the Sudanian Savanna. Reflecting the social organization of production in this region, we test the role of plot manager characteristics (including relationship to household head) as determinants of use. Given that farm family enterprises both consume and sell their sorghum harvests, we consider effects on consumption outcomes as well as yield. We find that plot manager characteristics, in addition to household wealth and labor supply, influence the use of improved varieties. The impact of hybrid use on yields is large and significant, positively affecting household dietary diversity and contributing to a greater share of the harvest sold. However, use of hybrids, as well as improved varieties, is associated with a shift toward 2 consumption of other cereals. Findings support on-farm experimental evidence concerning yield advantages, and suggest that encouraging the use of well-adapted sorghum hybrids may contribute to crop commercialization by smallholders.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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