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Factors Influencing the Profitability of Fertilizer Use on Maize in Zambia

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

Abstract

Fertilizer use remains very low in most of Africa despite widespread agreement that much higher use rates are required for sustained agricultural productivity growth. This study estimates maize yield response functions in agro-ecological Zone IIA, a relatively high potential zone of Zambia, to determine the profitability of fertilizer use under a range of small farm conditions found within this zone. The theoretical framework used in this study incorporates agronomic principles of the crop growth process. The model distinguishes different roles of inputs and non-input factors in crop production. We estimate the effects of conventional production inputs as well as household characteristics and government programs on maize yield for households in the dominant acrisols soil type. Results indicate that even within this particular soil type within Zone IIA, the maize-fertilizer response rate in the two specific years varied widely across households. The main factors explaining the variability in maize-fertilizer response rates were the rate of application, the timeliness of fertilizer availability, the use of animal draught power during land preparation, and whether the household incurred the death of an adult member in the past three years. These modifying factors, as well as variations in input and output prices due to proximity to roads and markets, substantially affected the profitability of fertilizer use on maize. Fertilizer use on maize tended to be unprofitable at full commercial fertilizer prices for farmers who received fertilizer late and who were located in relatively remote areas.

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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 Working Papers with number 54500.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:midcwp:54500

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Web page: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/
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Related research

Keywords: zambia; maize; fertilizer; profitability; 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. 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.
  3. Dewbre, Joshua, 2010. "Improving resource allocation and incomes in Vietnamese agriculture," IFPRI discussion papers 984, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. 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.
  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. 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).
  7. 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).

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