The determinants of adoption of commercially -priced inorganic fertilizer for use on maize in Tanzania

While Tanzania has enjoyed strong growth in GDP per capita since 2000 (approximately 7% per year), until 2007, this growth had led to neither substantial reductions in rural poverty nor significant improvements in household nutritional status (World Bank, 2015). While basic needs poverty declined from 34.4 percent to 28.2 percent between 2007 and 2012 (and extreme poverty declined from 11.7 percent to 9.7 percent), a large share of the population remains right above or below the poverty line, which implies that small changes in the cost of living can result in many households transitioning either into or out of poverty (ibid, 2015). Rural areas account for over 70 percent of Tanzania’s population, 80 percent of the poor and the extreme poor in Tanzania live in rural areas, and more than half of the rural poor depend upon subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods (ibid, 2015). As has been recognized by donors and African governments alike in recent years, one of the keys to reducing rural poverty and improving the nutritional status of rural households in Tanzania will be to achieve wide -spread improvements in food crop productivity among smallholder farmers. Prior to the international food price crisis of 2007/08, maize yields in Tanzania remained low, averaging between 800-900 tons/ha nation-wide, despite Tanzania’s favorable agro-ecological potential (NBS, 2004)1. Subsequently, maize production stagnated during the 2000s and did not keep pace with population growth (World Bank, 2009). While there are like ly to be a range of factors which contribute to low maize yields in Tanzania, an obvious constraint is the fact that as of 2007/08 (NBS, 2008), few smallholders outside of the Southern Highlands region used inorganic fertilizer on maize or improved maize seed.

Issue Date:
Jun 06 2017
Publication Type:
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
Q12; Q18
Series Statement:
GISAIA/Tanzania Working Paper # 7

 Record created 2018-01-10, last modified 2018-01-22

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