Impacts of improved maize varieties in Nigeria: ex-post assessment of productivity and welfare outcomes

Investment in agricultural research and development is an important intervention for improving crop productivity and household welfare in most developing countries where agriculture is the main source of livelihoods. This paper uses nationally representative plot- and household-level data from the major maize producing regions of Nigeria to assess the impacts of adoption of improved maize varieties on maize yield and household welfare outcomes. The paper employed an endogenous switching regression approach to control for both observed and unobserved sources of heterogeneity between adopters and non-adopters. Adoption of improved maize varieties increased maize grain yield by 574 kg/ha and per-capita total expenditure by US$ 77 (US$ 0.21/day). We found that the incidence of poverty among adopters would have been higher by 6% without adoption of the improved varieties. These findings underscore that investments and policy measures to increase and sustain the adoption of improved maize cultivars are critical for improving the productivity of maize in Nigeria and reducing poverty.