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Factors Influencing the Profitability of Fertilizer Use on Maize in Zambia

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  • Xu, Z.
  • Guan, Zhengfei
  • Jayne, Thomas S.
  • Black, J. Roy

Abstract

Major Findings: The additional maize produced from a given amount of fertilizer applied varied widely across households even after largely controlling for soil and rainfall conditions. The median estimated response rate was 15.9kgs of maize per kg nitrogen applied; Under the range of conditions and smallholder management practices, average maize fertilizer response rates declined as the application rate increased beyond 2 bags of urea and 2 bags of D compound; Factors raising the response rate and profitability of fertilizer use included timely availability, application rates less than the MOA 4x4 recommendation, use of animal draft power in land preparation, and use of hybrid seed. In remote areas, and given current management practices, fertilizer use appears to be profitable only for a minority of smallholder farmers in the relatively remote areas. For farmers in the more accessible areas, profitability of fertilizer use depends on timely availability. If fertilizer is not available on time, even farmers in the more accessible parts of this area of relatively high agronomic suitability for maize production are largely unable to use fertilizer profitably. Because over 30 percent of the households reported that fertilizer was delivered late, these findings indicate that efforts to ensure timely distribution can contribute substantially to the productivity gains achievable from fertilizer use.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs with number 54639.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:midcpb:54639

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Web page: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/
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Keywords: agriculture; africa; zambia; fertilizer; Crop Production/Industries; Q12;

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Cited by:
  1. Sheahan, Megan & Black, Roy & Jayne, Thomas S., 2012. "What is the Scope for Increased Fertilizer Use in Kenya?," Food Security International Development Working Papers 135283, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  2. Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Jayne, Thomas S., 2010. "What are the Dynamic Effects of Fertilizer Subsidies on Household Well‐being? Evidence from Malawi," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 96650, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE);Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).
  3. Dewbre, Joshua, 2010. "Improving resource allocation and incomes in Vietnamese agriculture," IFPRI discussion papers 984, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Obi, Ajuruchukwu & Chisango, Future Fortune T., 2011. "Performance of Smallholder Agriculture Under Limited Mechanization and the Fast Track Land Reform Program in Zimbabwe," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 14(4).
  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. Sheahan, Megan & Black, Roy & Jayne, T.S., 2013. "Are Kenyan farmers under-utilizing fertilizer? Implications for input intensification strategies and research," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 39-52.
  7. Sheahan, Megan & Black, Roy & Jayne, Thomas S., 2012. "Are Farmers Under-Utilizing Fertilizer? Evidence from Kenya," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126739, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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