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Title:Impacts of pesticide use practices and gender on cowpea productivity of smallholder farmers in Benin
Author(s):Horezeanu, Loredana Luisa
Advisor(s):Baylis, Katherine
Contributor(s):Winter-Nelson, Alex; Donovan, Cynthia; Michelson, Hope
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Pesticide use practices
Agricultural productivity
Cowpea yield
West Africa
Spatial autocorrelation
Instrumental variable
Abstract:Cowpea has a considerable potential to contribute to the food security and livelihoods of African smallholder farmers. Yet, cowpea yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world and one possible explanation for the yield gap is cowpea’s high vulnerability to insect pest attacks. Pesticides have been widely acknowledged as the most effective method of controlling pests and cowpea farmers often apply them excessively and indiscriminately while continuing to incur drastic yield losses. This paper uses an IV model specification to quantify the impact of pesticide use practices and gender on cowpea productivity in Benin. To obtain true causal estimates for pesticide impacts on productivity, this paper uses the spatial autocorrelation in farmers’ pesticide use data to general spatial lag variables that along with pesticide cost per unit, meet the criteria of valid and relevant instruments in the IV model. Among the key findings of this thesis is that pesticide use has an unambiguous positive impact on cowpea productivity. Despite its positive impact on yield, combining pesticide use with other pesticide use practices leads to mixed results implying that some of farmers’ existing practices may not be appropriate in minimizing crop losses. It is therefore reasonable for policy-makers and other stakeholders to invest resources in educating farmers on appropriate pesticide use practices. Women farmers in Benin have a crucial role in cowpea production both as laborers and decision-makers. Yet, the overall findings appear to point to a gender-based productivity gap in cowpea production that can only partially be explained by women’s pesticide use practices and unequal access to production inputs.
Issue Date:2017-04-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Loredana Horezeanu
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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