The effect of soil quality on fertilizer use rates among smallholder farmers in western Kenya

Studies of fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa have been dominated by analyses of economic and market factors having to do with infrastructure, institutions, and incentives that prevent or foster increased fertilizer demand, largely ignoring how soil fertility status conditions farmer demand for fertilizer. We apply a switching regression model to data from 260 farm households in western Kenya in order to allow for the possibility of discontinuities in fertilizer demand based on a soil carbon content (SCC) threshold. We find that the usual factors reflecting liquidity and quasi-fixed inputs are important on high-SCC plots but not on those with poorer soils. External inputs become less effective on soils with low SCC, hence the discernible shift in behaviors across soil quality regimes. For many farmers, improved fertilizer market conditions alone may be insufficient to stimulate increased fertilizer use without complementary improvements in the biophysical conditions that affect conditional factor demand.


Issue Date:
2009
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/51671
Total Pages:
19
JEL Codes:
Q12; Q18; Q24
Series Statement:
Contributed Paper
417




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-25

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