Factors Affecting the Joint Adoption of Herbicides and Conservation Tillage Technologies among Smallholder Farmers in Zambia

  •  Godfrey Mutale    
  •  Thomson Kalinda    
  •  Elias Kuntashula    


For over three decades, Zambian private and public organizations have been promoting Conservation Agriculture (CA) among smallholder farmers, throughout the country. CA, as a technology, involves Conservation Tillage (CT) methods and use of herbicides, particularly in the first 3 to 4 years of its adoption. Despite the long-term CA dissemination effort from stakeholders, adoption of both herbicides and CT technologies has been relatively low. Using the 2012 Rural Agricultural Livelihood Survey (RALS12) data collected country-wide, a bivariate probit analytical model investigated whether Zambian smallholder farmers make a joint adoption decision in the uptake of herbicides and CT methods. Results indicate that the adoption of herbicides is jointly linked to the adoption of CT technologies. Factors such as being a male-headed household, belonging to a cooperative society, larger sizes of cultivated areas, owning productive tools such as a knapsack sprayer and receiving advice on CA technologies, were critical in positively influencing the joint-adoption of herbicide and CT technologies. Overall, results imply that if the adoption of herbicides is to be enhanced, the promotion of CT technologies have to be intensified. The best promotional channels include agricultural groups such as farmer cooperatives, which are good conduits and platforms for smallholder farmers’ knowledge-sharing. These promotional efforts should support gender balancing and emphasize the inclusion and use of herbicides in CA. There is also need for government to enhance farmers’ access to productive tools that support the use of herbicides such as knapsack sprayers.

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