Impact of Microdosing Practices on Technical Efficiency: An Analysis Accounting for Selection Bias Among Smallholder Maize Farmers in Burkina Faso

  •  Didier Sawadogo    
  •  Ichizen Matsumura    
  •  Mohamed Esham    
  •  Cristhian Fernandez    
  •  Asres Elias    


Smallholder maize farmers are currently confronted with the arduous challenge of managing limited financial resources while incessantly facing the issue of land degradation. To address this issue, an alternative solution has been implemented to optimize the use of chemical fertilizer by adopting microdosing. This innovative system not only helps them enhance their agricultural productivity but also allows them to protect the environment. However, it is unclear how microdosing adoption could increase the technical efficiency (TE) of maize production. Therefore, this research aims to assess how the adoption of microdosing affects the technical efficiency of maize production as well as identify the key factors that influence the technical efficiency of maize production in Burkina Faso. To achieve this goal, farm household survey data was conducted with 210 randomly selected farmers from the Plateau Central and northern regions of Burkina Faso. To account for potential selection biases that could result from both observable and unobservable factors, we used a sample selection stochastic production frontier model and a propensity score matching approach. A stochastic meta-frontier approach was applied to estimate TE differences and the technology gap between adopters and non-adopters. The findings showed that adopters of microdosing have an average efficiency of 68 percent, which is higher than the 53 percent estimated for non-adopters. Adopters of microdosing have been found to have high TE and better agricultural technology than non-adopters. The meta-frontier estimation revealed that the adoption of improved maize varieties would yield better returns. This study contributes significantly to the literature on how fertilizer microdosing affects maize productivity, as well as the policy implications of targeting and encouraging smallholder maize farmers in Burkina Faso to optimize the use of productive inputs and improve maize output by using microdosing.

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