It is critically important to intensify farming systems by disseminating proper agronomic practices and promoting the increased application of inputs to raise agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the region’s public agricultural extension systems are weak, and their input and output markets often fail to function properly. Under these circumstances, contract farming (CF) is expected to be a promising way to overcome market imperfections by providing inputs, production training, and marketing services. We examine this possibility by analyzing the case of rice production CF in Cote d’Ivoire.
We find that CF did not lead to farming intensification, due mainly to the inadequate and uncertain provision of tractor services. Further analysis reveals a complementarity between tractor use and labor inputs, whereby tractor use in land preparation enhanced the adoption of input- and labor-intensive practices in subsequent farming activities, thereby increasing labor use and improving land productivity. The diffusion of tractors is thus likely to be key to the intensification of rice farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Keywords: contract farming, rice production, tractor, farm mechanization, agricultural intensification, Green Revolution, sub-Saharan Africa, Cote d’Ivoire