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Intensification scenarios in south-western Niger: Implications for revisiting fertilizer policy

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  • Rovere, Roberto La
  • Keulen van, Herman
  • Hiernaux, Pierre
  • Szonyi, Judit
  • A. Schipper, Robert
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    Abstract

    In semi-arid south-western Niger, external fertilizer inputs are a complement of livestock-mediated nutrient transfers for maintaining soil fertility. This paper discusses scenarios of intensification for different farm household types in an area representative of the wetter parts of semi-arid Sahel. Twenty-five-year projections suggest that soil fertility may not always or irreversibly deteriorate under intensification, and that nitrogen is the main external input required. Owning animals allows some households to achieve food security and maintain soil fertility by capturing and mobilizing soil nutrients. Intensification will bring various benefits to livelihoods, but these will be unevenly distributed. The results of this paper should caution scientists and policy-makers against the often heard warning of inevitable losses in soil fertility in the Sahel associated with intensive technologies, and against extrapolating conclusions attained at specific locations or social groups. Endogenous coping strategies based on using local inputs can also be effective and should be explored in addition to a continued attention for the need for more targeted uses of external inputs.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VCB-4PVY30S-1/1/ce8b211923c1a790c1a466b712d9f076
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 156-164

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:2:p:156-164

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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    References

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    1. Hengsdijk, H. & van Ittersum, M. K. & Rossing, W. A. H., 1998. "Quantitative analysis of farming systems for policy formulation: development of new tools," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 381-394, November.
    2. Abdoulaye, T. & Lowenberg-DeBoer, J., 2000. "Intensification of Sahelian farming systems: evidence from Niger," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 67-81, May.
    3. van Ittersum, M. K. & Rabbinge, R. & van Latesteijn, H. C., 1998. "Exploratory land use studies and their role in strategic policy making," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 309-330, November.
    4. Larson, Bruce A. & Frisvold, George B., 1996. "Fertilizers to support agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa: what is needed and why," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 509-525, December.
    5. Reardon, Thomas & Kelly, Valerie & Crawford, Eric & Diagana, Bocar & Dione, Josue & Savadogo, Kimseyinga & Boughton, Duncan, 1997. "Promoting sustainable intensification and productivity growth in Sahel agriculture after macroeconomic policy reform," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 317-327, August.
    6. Shapiro, B. I. & Sanders, J. H., 1998. "Fertilizer use in semiarid West Africa: Profitability and supporting policy," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 467-482, April.
    7. Place, Frank & Barrett, Christopher B. & Freeman, H. Ade & Ramisch, Joshua J. & Vanlauwe, Bernard, 2003. "Prospects for integrated soil fertility management using organic and inorganic inputs: evidence from smallholder African agricultural systems," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 365-378, August.
    8. Tahirou Abdoulaye & John H. Sanders, 2005. "Stages and determinants of fertilizer use in semiarid African agriculture: the Niger experience," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(2), pages 167-179, 03.
    9. Tiffen, Mary & Mortimore, Michael, 1994. "Malthus controverted: The role of capital and technology in growth and environment recovery in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 997-1010, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Berkhout, E.D. & Schipper, R.A. & Van Keulen, H. & Coulibaly, O., 2011. "Heterogeneity in farmers' production decisions and its impact on soil nutrient use: Results and implications from northern Nigeria," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 63-74, January.

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