No.14 Is the Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa a Fertilizer and Seed Revolution? The Impact of Training and Free Distribution of Fertilizer and Seeds on Agricultural Productivity

  • #Discussion Papers

The Green Revolution in Asia is often considered the “fertilizer and seed revolution.” However, it has recently become recognized that Green Revolution is not merely a fertilizer and seed revolution but that good agricultural practices for better water and crop management are also crucial. If so, agricultural training instead of providing fertilizer and seeds for free should effectively increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. This study conducts a randomized control trial to compare the efficacy of agricultural training and the free distribution of a small amount of fertilizer and seeds of a modern variety of rice. Our results show that trained farmers adopted modern varieties and improved agronomic practices more often and achieved higher paddy yield, income, and profit per hectare than the control group. By contrast, neither the paddy yield nor the income of those who received free inputs increased, although they were more likely to adopt modern variety than a control group. The results suggest that proper knowledge transfer is crucial for enhancing agricultural productivity. We also observed that control group farmers learned about new technologies from trained farmers while they did not do so from free-input receiving farmers, suggesting possible knowledge spillover from trained farmers but not from free-input receivers.

Keywords: Technology adoption, Agricultural productivity, Agricultural training, Free-input distribution, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania

Yuko Nakano, Eustadius Francis Magezi
Date of issuance
August 2023
Number of pages
Related areas
  • #Africa
  • #Agricultural / Rural Development
Research area
Development Cooperation Strategies
Research project