This study evaluates the economic impact of the Cotton YIELD Programme on the agricultural income of smallholder cotton farmers in Zambia. The analysis was based on pooled cross-section data of 300 cotton farmers, collected from two (2) household surveys, who were randomly selected in Mumbwa district in Zambia during the 2005 and 2015 agricultural seasons. The study utilised Propensity Score Matching (PSM) methods to account for observable heterogeneity in characteristics between participants and non-participants of the Cotton YIELD Programme, and the Double Difference (DD) method for unobservable characteristics between the two (2) groups. The PSM was used to obtain matched observations of participants and non-participants, based on observed characteristics. The results suggest that years of education, farm size, membership of local farmer organisation, assets value, access to credit, and ownership of animal traction positively influence smallholder farmers' participation in the Cotton YIELD Programme. However, distance to extension agents and market outlets negatively influence smallholder farmers' participation. The study found that the Cotton YIELD Programme has significantly increased the agricultural net income of the participants by 38.1 %. The positive and significant impact of the Cotton YIELD Programme on agricultural income is consistent with the perceived role of improved technologies in increasing agricultural net income. This study supports broader investment in agricultural research to address developmental challenges. However, reaching more smallholder cotton farmers with the Cotton YIELD Programme may require policy support for improving access to extension services and market outlets that stimulate participation.
Dissertation (MSc (Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2017.