Hybrid rice as a pro-poor technology?
McFall, William Andrew
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Hybrids are often thought to be generally beneficial due to the benefits offered from higher yield performance. However, in the case of hybrid rice, these yield gains are offset by poor grain quality that reduces the price farmers receive in the market. Despite the price discount and poor grain quality, hybrid rice offers “cheap calories” that may be desirable for households that consume a large portion of their production. Using data from a recent nationally representative household survey of Bangladesh, I examine the potential of hybrid rice as a pro-poor technology for rice-producing households. I develop two double hurdle models to explore the decision-making process of rice-producing households as they allocate their land and consumption bundle between hybrid and non-hybrid varieties. I find evidence that households with larger land holdings are more likely to adopt hybrid rice. Additional, I find evidence that wealth alone does not affect hybrid rice adoption. However, contingent on adoption, I find that poor households allocate a higher percentage of their land to hybrids. Moreover, I find that own-produced hybrid rice consumption constitutes a higher percentage of total rice consumption for poor households than for rich households. These results suggest that widespread adoption of hybrid rice may be beneficial in promoting food security in South Asia.