Contract farming and the adoption of sustainable farm practices : Empirical evidence from cashew farmers in Ghana
Contract farming has been shown to increase agricultural productivity and thus welfare of farmers in developing countries. However, studies that look at the potential environmental effects of contract farming remain quite scanty. This is however crucial, since contract farming may contribute to intensification in cultivation of the contracted crops, in terms of area and the intensity of inputs used. This study investigates the impact of participation in contract farming on sustainable farm practices, using a marginal treatment effects (MTEs) approach to account for potential selection bias and heterogeneity across households. The empirical results show significant heterogeneity in the effects of contract farming on the intensity of sustainable farm practice use. In particular, farmers with high propensity to participate in contract farming tend to have low probabilities of using sustainable farm practices. The findings of this study not only provide new insights into the heterogeneous effects of contract farming, but also entry points for further research to address the dual challenge of agriculture to produce sufficient food, while reducing the adverse impact on the environment.