This was created in partnership with Environment for Development
Soil fertility depletion is considered the main biophysical limiting factor to increasing per capita food production for most smallholder farmers in Africa. The adoption and diffusion of sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs), as a way to tackle this impediment, has become an important issue in the development policy agenda for sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the adoption decisions for SAPs, using multiple crosssectional plot-level observations, collected in 2010 from 681 farm households and 1,539 plots, in 4 districts and 88 villages of rural Tanzania. We employ a multivariate probit technique to model simultaneous adoption decisions by farm households. Our study reveals that rainfall shocks, insects and disease shocks, government effectiveness, tenure status of plot, social capital, plot location and size, and asset ownership, all influence the adoption decision of sustainable practices. Policies that target SAPs and are aimed at organizing farmers into associations, improving land tenure security, and enhancing skills of civil servants can increase the likelihoodthat smallholder farmers will adopt SAPs.