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Soil quality and fertilizer use rates among smallholder farmers in western Kenya

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  • Paswel P. Marenya
  • Christopher B. Barrett

Abstract

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. Copyright (c) 2009 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 561-572

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Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:40:y:2009:i:5:p:561-572

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Cited by:
  1. Larson, Donald F. & Gurara, Daniel Zerfu, 2013. "A conceptual model of incomplete markets and the consequences for technology adoption policies in Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6681, The World Bank.
  2. Mathenge, Mary K. & Smale, Melinda & Olwande, John, 2012. "The Impact of Maize Hybrids on Income, Poverty, and Inequality among Smallholder Farmers in Kenya," Food Security International Development Working Papers, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics 146931, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  3. Mathenge, Mary K. & Smale, Melinda & Opiyo, Joseph, 2013. "Off-farm Work and Fertilizer Intensification among Smallholder Farmers in Kenya: A Cross-Crop Comparison," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150638, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Kasirye, Ibrahim, 2013. "Constraints to Agricultural Technology Adoption in Uganda: Evidence from the 2005/06-2009/10 Uganda National Panel Survey," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 8(2), August.
  5. Jeremy D. Foltz & Ursula T. Aldana & Paul Laris, 2012. "The Sahel's Silent Maize Revolution: Analyzing Maize Productivity in Mali at the Farm-level," NBER Working Papers 17801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mathenge, Mary K. & Smale, Melinda & Olwande, John, 2014. "The impacts of hybrid maize seed on the welfare of farming households in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 262-271.
  7. Kamau, Mercy & Smale, Melinda & Mutua, Mercy, 2013. "Farmer Demand for Soil Fertility Management Practices in Kenya’s Grain Basket," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150722, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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