Abstract

Is change worth it? The effects of adopting modern agricultural inputs on household welfare in Rwanda

This study investigates the driving factors that influence farmers’ decisions to adopt modern agricultural inputs (MAI) and how this affects farm household welfare in rural Rwanda. To account for heterogeneity in the MAI adoption decision and unobservable farm and household attributes, we estimate an endogenous switching regression (ESR) model. The findings reveal that size of land endowment, access to farm credit and awareness of farm advisory services are the main driving forces behind MAI adoption. The analysis further shows that MAI adoption increases household farm income, farm yield and equivalised consumption per capita. This implies that adopting MAI is the most consistent and potentially best pathway to reduce poverty among rural farmers. The study hence suggests that policymakers should align the effective dissemination of MAI information and farm advisory services, strengthen farm credit systems and improve market access – most crucially at affordable prices – among small-farmers throughout Rwanda.