Soil organic resource management practices such as use of green manure, cover crops, improved fallows, mulch, animal manure, compost and residue retention are options that promote the environment and potentially increase farmer crop yields and income. However, there have been low levels of adoption of most of these practices, and their ability to improve crop yields and farmer income has come into question. The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of the aforementioned practices on maize yields and income in Chipata district of Zambia. Using Matching algorithm strategies on data from 303 households, the study observed that only cover crops and improved fallows, significantly increased maize productivity by 16 - 21 and 22 - 31%, respectively. Only green manure and improved fallows increased household income by 26 - 28 and 48 - 67%, respectively. Since green manure did not show any significant influence on the production of maize, this later result could imply that the practice is expressing its significant effect on household income through cash crops such as cotton, soybean, tobacco and vegetables, which are common in the study area. The non-significance in the contribution of most of the practices to private benefits could be affecting the rates at which the practices are adopted. Since the significant contribution of the practices towards environmental sustainability is not debatable, there is need for payment of some mark-up to the adopters of the practices which could go towards compensation for production of environmental services through the practices. This will increase the private benefits accrued from adopting the practices, with the spill-over effects of increasing adoptability potential of the practices.
Key words: Maize yields, income, organic resource management, matching strategies, Zambia.
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