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Food security impacts of smallholder farmers’ adoption of dual-purpose sweetpotato varieties in Rwanda

Abstract

Many empirical studies have recognized the importance of using improved crop varieties to tackle the challenges of low productivity, poverty, hunger, and food insecurity. Nevertheless, the size of the effect of any crop variety, such as dual-purpose sweetpotatoes developed for both food and animal feed, adopted by the target groups remains an empiric concern. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the determinants of adoption of dual-purpose sweetpotato varieties and, subsequently, estimate the extent to which adoption impacts household food security status. To establish causation, we used an endogenous switching probit to reduce the selection bias resulting from both observed and unobserved characteristics. The results of the adoption analysis indicate a low level of adoption (42%), and factors such as sex of the respondent, primary occupation, farm size, membership of social group, and a visit to farm demonstrations play significant roles in shaping farmers’ decision to adopt the dual-purpose sweetpotato varieties. Furthermore, the findings indicate that food insecurity continues among rural farming households, although a large proportion (63%) experiences mild food insecurity to food security. Generally, the adoption of dual-purpose sweetpotato has a positive impact on food security of the adopters, and the non-adopters would have benefited substantially from adoption if they had adopted. Thus, sweetpotato being a staple crop in Rwanda has a strong effect on the households’ food security status. Therefore, it implies the need to pursue efforts to intensify the growth of dual-purpose sweetpotato by poor rural households facing the dual problem of access and nutrition for food security and not having the means to afford food supplements.

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Data availability

Data is available upon request from the corresponding author.

Notes

  1. African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) was set up at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa in 2002 to be the first centre based in Africa to train local plant breeders. These scientists trained by ACCI have worked on a broad array of crops – primarily root and tubers, cereals, and legumes, which are critical for food security and poverty reduction in Africa. ACCI has produced over 120 PhD graduates who are now scientists in various fields of plant sciences, particularly as researchers in research centres and academic institutions in Africa.

  2. It is important to note here that the three sets of binary food security outcomes are estimated separately, each with the adoption variable as treatment.

  3. Readers can refer to Lokshin and Sajaia (2011)

  4. The falsification test for the food security, moderately food insecurity and severe food insecurity are; Chi2 (2) = 1.27 (0.531), Chi2 (2) = 0.53 (0.767) and Chi2 (2) = 2.29 (0.319), respectively. The Chi2 probabilities are figures in parentheses.

  5. It must be noted that in each household, the sweetpotato farm manager was interviewed instead of the household head. In a situation where the household head is also the farm manager, then he or she is interview as such. Also, women were usually invited to answer the questions regarding the food security status of the household since they are considered as the administrators of the household, especially on food.

  6. Diffusion areas are districts where the dual-purpose sweetpotato varieties were disseminated and promoted while the non-diffusion or control areas are areas where the varieties were not promoted.

  7. CARI is an approach that combines a suite of food security indicators, including food consumption score and food expenditure share and livelihood coping strategies into a summary indicator known as the Food Security Index (FSI).

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Funding

The study was funded by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) through the African Centre for Crop Improvement, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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Correspondence to Gideon Danso-Abbeam.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 5 Food insecurity experience scale survey module

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Danso-Abbeam, G., Baiyegunhi, L.J.S., Laing, M.D. et al. Food security impacts of smallholder farmers’ adoption of dual-purpose sweetpotato varieties in Rwanda. Food Sec. 13, 653–668 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-020-01119-7

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Keywords

  • African centre for crop improvement
  • Food insecurity experience scale
  • Sweetpotato varieties
  • Endogenous switching probit
  • Rwanda