Input Subsidies, Household Welfare, and Sustainable Land Use

This blog focuses on our recent research in Malawi on the Input Subsidy Program and Its Impacts. We have collected detailed panel data from farm households in 6 districts in central and southern Malawi in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and use these in our analyses. The research was funded by NORAD and the Norwegian Embassy in Malawi and data were collected by a group of students in our Master Program in Development and Natural Resource Economics

Maize yield variation in different districts in Malawi from 2006-2009

Field work in MalawiPosted by Stein Holden Sun, September 05, 2010 20:08:01
Maize yields were also significantly higher in Thyolo (2590 kg/ha as average over the three years) than in other districts. Maize yields were particularly skewed in Machinga district (mean yield of 1400 kg/ha against a median yield of only 457 kg/ha). Hybrid maize yields were found to be significantly higher (about 320 kg/ha higher) than the yields of local maize also after controlling for differences in fertilizer and manure use (using propensity score matching). There was a significant positive trend in maize yields from 2006 to 2009 with an increase in mean yields of about 600 kg/ha from 1440 to 2040 kg/ha for hybrid maize and from 1120 to 1680 kg/ha for local maize. These findings illustrate that there is still a lot of room for yield improvement, particularly for hybrid maize. Only in Thyolo district were fertilizer use levels at the recommended levels on average (345 kg/ha) while the median fertilizer use level was 200 kg/ha. In the other districts mean fertilizer levels were 140-210 kg/ha and median levels were 70-125 kg/ha with more than 25% of the maize plots receiving no fertilizer in Chiradzulu, Machinga, Kasungu and Lilongwe districts. The mean fertilizer levels increased from 193 kg/ha in 2006 to 211 kg/ha in 2009 on all maize plots and the distribution became less skewed over time with more than 75% of the plots receiving fertilizers in 2009 and a median fertilizer rate of 151 kg/ha in 2009 against 107 and 64 kg/ha in 2007 and 2006.

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