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Assessing the Impact of Improved Agricultural Technologies on Household Income in Rural Mozambique

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In many areas of Africa, rural livelihoods depend heavily on subsistence farming. Using improved agricultural technologies can increase productivity in smallholder agriculture and thus raise household income and reduce poverty. Data from a nationally representative rural household survey from 2005 is used to assess the impact of four technologies - improved maize seeds, improved granaries, tractor mechanization, and animal traction - on household income in Mozambique. To ensure the robustness of the results, three econometric approaches were used: the doubly-robust estimator, sub-classification and regression, and matching and regression. The results show that, overall, using an improved technology did not have a statistically significant impact on household income. This may be associated with a widespread drought that occurred in 2005. Despite drought, distinguishing between households based on propensity score quintiles revealed that using improved technologies, especially improved maize seeds and tractors, significantly increased the income of those households who had better market access. Thus, to allow households to benefit from the use of improved technologies, policy makers need to reduce structural impediments to market participation by ensuring adequate road infrastructure and enabling access to markets.