Does Intercropping Improve the Outcomes of Export Assistance Among Kenyan Smallholders?

By Noah Nieting. Macalester College.

Commodity export markets provide opportunities for gains from trade in developing economies, but smallholding farmers remain least likely to access these markets due to unscalable factors, risks of monocropping, meeting international regulations, and volatile cash crop prices. This paper uses randomized control trial data from western Kenya that gave smallholders access to export assistance and credit services, thus remedying issues of price dispersion and imperfect export and credit markets found in the smallholder literature. An ecological adaptation of production possibilities theory hypothesizes that intercropper income should be equal to or greater than that of monocroppers, ceteris paribus. A series of difference-in-difference empirical approaches finds that program participation interacted with intercropping has a positive but statistically insignificant effect on non-wage agricultural income per acre. Results confirm the expected sign from theory and show that researchers and development practitioners should not forgo intercropping given small scales.

Read the full paper here.