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Agricultural Informatization and Technical Efficiency in Maize Production in Zambia

1
College of Economics and Management, China Center for Food Security Studies, Nanjing Agricultural University, No. 1 Weigang, Nanjing 210095, China
2
Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Geography, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2451; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11082451
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
The cropland productivity gap between Africa and the rest of the world is widening. Fortunately, increasing farmers’ access to useful agricultural information reduces the costs of searching for information, thereby leading to higher agricultural productivity and sustainability. This study investigates the association between the adoption of mobile phones to collect agricultural information and farmers’ technical efficiency (TE) in Zambia. Different from previous studies, we focus on the actual use of mobile phones by farmers rather than mere ownership. Farmers were selected using a two-stage sampling procedure, and the Cobb-Douglas (CD) production function is adopted to estimate the association using two approaches—the conventional stochastic production frontier (SPF) and propensity score matching-stochastic production frontier (PSM-SPF) model. In both cases, we found that the use of mobile phones is significantly and positively associated with farmers’ TE. However, the conventional SFP model exaggerates the TE scores by 5.3% due to its failure to mitigate biases from observed variables. Regarding the agricultural growth indicators (income and output) related to TE, a close inspection reveals that increasing mobile phone use to close the TE gap between the two groups could result in a 5.13% and 8.21% reduction in severity of poverty and extreme poverty, respectively. Additional research is essential to corroborate the findings and analyze the potential causal mechanisms. Our study provides strong evidence to promote mobile phone use in agricultural production in rural Zambia. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural informatization; mobile phone use; maize production; technical efficiency; sample-selection model: Zambia agricultural informatization; mobile phone use; maize production; technical efficiency; sample-selection model: Zambia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mwalupaso, G.E.; Wang, S.; Rahman, S.; Alavo, E.J.-P.; Tian, X. Agricultural Informatization and Technical Efficiency in Maize Production in Zambia. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2451. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11082451

AMA Style

Mwalupaso GE, Wang S, Rahman S, Alavo EJ-P, Tian X. Agricultural Informatization and Technical Efficiency in Maize Production in Zambia. Sustainability. 2019; 11(8):2451. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11082451

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mwalupaso, Gershom E., Shangao Wang, Sanzidur Rahman, Essiagnon J.-P. Alavo, and Xu Tian. 2019. "Agricultural Informatization and Technical Efficiency in Maize Production in Zambia" Sustainability 11, no. 8: 2451. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11082451

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