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Characteristics and Spillover Effects of Medium-Scale Farms in Tanzania


Although medium-scale farms are more prevalent than large-scale farms in many sub-Saharan African countries, much less is known about their interactions with, and influence on, small-scale farms. In Tanzania, medium-scale farms are more likely to use modern techniques and inputs and to market their output, suggesting a potential for spillover effects for their smaller-scale neighbors—particularly if they attract local agribusiness investments. We consider the population of small-scale farms in Tanzania and ask whether agricultural behaviors and outcomes are affected by the local prevalence of medium-scale farms. Using pooled OLS and household fixed-effects models, we find evidence that small-scale farms are more likely to use improved seed, to cultivate more of their landholdings, and to receive agricultural extension in the presence of more medium-scale farms. This points to positive synergies from mixed scales of farming in a given locality.


Bien que les exploitations agricoles de taille moyenne soient plus répandues que les exploitations à grande échelle dans de nombreux pays d'Afrique subsaharienne, nous ne disposons que de peu d’information à propos de leur interaction et de leur influence sur les petites exploitations. En Tanzanie, les exploitations agricoles de taille moyenne sont plus susceptibles d'utiliser des techniques et des intrants modernes et de commercialiser leur production, ce qui peut potentiellement entraîner des répercussions positives sur leurs voisins de plus petite taille, en particulier si ces exploitations agricoles moyennes attirent des investissements agro-industriels au niveau local. En observant les petites exploitations agricoles en Tanzanie, nous nous demandons si leur comportement et leur rendement agricole sont impactés par la présence d’exploitations de taille moyenne dans leur localité. Grâce à la combinaison de la méthode des moindres carrés ordinaire et du modèle d'effets fixes sur les ménages, nous prouvons que les petites exploitations agricoles, en présence d'exploitations de taille moyenne, sont plus susceptibles d'utiliser de meilleures semences, de cultiver une plus grande partie de leur propriété foncière et de bénéficier d'une vulgarization agricole. Cela indique que dans une localité donnée, il existe des synergies positives entre les exploitations agricoles de taille différente.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Results for column 1 of Tables 3 and 4 are extremely similar when only the value of medium-scale farm prevalence is included as the explanatory variable (i.e., when the existence of large-scale farms is ignored). This further motivates the pooling of these categories in the regressions of column 1.


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This research was produced under the World Bank activity “Closing the Potential-Performance Divide in Tanzanian Agriculture.”


This work was jointly funded by the World Bank under the activity “Closing the Potential-Performance Divide in Tanzanian Agriculture” and by the USAID/Bureau for Food Security under the Agriculture Sector Policy and Institutional Reforms Strengthening project (ASPIRES/Tanzania) of Michigan State University.

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Correspondence to Ayala Wineman.

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Wineman, A., Jayne, T.S., Modamba, E.I. et al. Characteristics and Spillover Effects of Medium-Scale Farms in Tanzania. Eur J Dev Res (2020).

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  • Farm structure
  • Farm-household
  • Spillovers
  • Tanzania
  • Technology adoption