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A meta-analysis of the adoption of agricultural technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Both global poverty and hunger have increased in recent years, endangering progress towards accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2. The regression has been most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Meeting the SDG targets requires achieving resilient farm productivity. Although many farm management technologies exist to improve yields, farmers in SSA largely have not adopted these approaches. A long-standing literature about technology adoption identifies multiple hypotheses as to why farmers may or may not adopt new agricultural technologies, culminating in numerous micro-econometric studies. We analyse a metadata set capturing the findings of 164 published studies specifically focusing on SSA and show that 20 out of 38, or 53%, of the determinants commonly believed to influence technology adoption lack empirical support. Eighteen determinants—primarily related to information access, wealth, group membership and social capital, and land tenure—consistently influence adoption across studies. Wealth remains a significant determinant of fertilizer adoption, despite long-running subsidies in most countries, although it is decoupled from the adoption of improved seeds and alternative crop and nutrient management technologies. We highlight the foundational determinants of adoption and offer guidance to design effective interventions that can decrease poverty and hunger towards 2030.

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