Three essays on migration, technology adoption and income diversification
Kaninda Tshikala, Sam
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This dissertation consists of three essays on migration, technology adoption and income diversification. In the first essay we analyze farmers’ adoption behaviors of improved maize over time in rural Kenya. We estimate a multivariate probit model using five years of data from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). We find that only 19% of farmers used improved maize seeds during 2002 - 2006 while 60% did not use them at all, and 21% used them for one or more years and then discontinued their use. Liquidity constraints, poverty, poor infrastructure and markets are among the causes of the low adoption rate in the region. Providing rural areas with financial services and adequate infrastructure may increase the probability of adopting modern technologies in the region under study as well as in many African rural areas. The second essay examines the relation between migration, remittances, public transfers and the adoption of modern agricultural technology such as improved seeds and fertilizer. Using data from the World Bank we find that migration, remittances (both internal and external) and public transfers increase households’ propensity of adopting modern technologies. However, the probability of adopting modern agricultural technologies is higher for households with external migrants compared to those with internal migrants. Even though migration and remittances can help farmers reduce liquidity constraints and invest in more productive and risky activities, the provision of financial services in African rural areas is a key factor in the adoption of modern technologies in Africa. The third essay assesses the impact of remittances and public transfers on income diversification in rural Kenya. The results show that household with internal and/or international remittances are more likely to invest in nonfarm activities. However, only farmers with international remittances are more likely to invest in livestock. If remittances are invested in nonfarm activities, migration will have a negative impact on the agricultural sector. The decrease in agricultural labor force may lower farm production and increase food insecurity. Therefore, policies must be implemented to improve the living conditions and increase agricultural productivity in rural areas.