Estimating the impact of sericulture adoption on farmer income in Rwanda: an application of propensity score matching

Alexis Habiyaremye


The adoption of an agricultural technology is often seen as a way to overcome the constraints imposed by the existing resources and/or production methods. As a small landlocked country, Rwanda sought to develop the capability to produce silk, a high value-to-volume ratio product, as a means to overcome the constraints of high transportation cost of exports. Sericulture was also seen as a handy strategy to boost rural farmer income by putting previously less productive land to use for mulberry plantations. Because sericulture was not introduced randomly, this study relied on observational data and applied propensity score matching to estimate its income and poverty reduction effects in six rural districts. The results indicate that sericulture adoption had beneficial effects both on increasing income and reducing poverty. The strengthening of related skills development and the supporting infrastructure remains crucial for the sericulture to successfully diffuse and yield economic benefits commensurate with its potential.

Keywords: Sericulture, Agricultural technology adoption, Propensity score matching

JEL Classification: C13, C15, O32, O38