We examine factors affecting the adoption of improved cassava varieties of 217 households in the Cauca Department in southwest Colombia. Using DNA fingerprinting through Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), we identified different cultivars in farmers fields. We also used this information to remove possible bias in the adoption model that could have resulted from a misclassification of improved varieties (IVs). As a result, we found that farmers substantially overestimate their use of IVs and there are important differences in the determinants of adoption between farmer self‐identification and DNA fingerprinting. This finding implies that the incorporation of DNA fingerprinting in IV adoption studies is important to ensure the accuracy of future agricultural economic research and the relevance of subsequent policy recommendations.