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Estimating Returns to Soil and Water Conservation Investments - An Application to Crop Yield in Kenya

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Author Info

  • Nyangena, Wilfred

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of Nairobi)

  • Köhlin, Gunnar

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Productivity gains from soil and water conservation (SWC) have empirical support in research stations. Previous empirical results from on-farm adoption of SWC are, however, varied. This study investigated the impact of soil conservation investment on farm productivity in three regions in Kenya. Using plot-level survey data, we focused on land productivity on plots with and without SWC. We tested the overall soil conservation hypothesis that increased SWC is beneficial for yield, as well as more specific hypotheses that SWC affects levels of inputs, returns from these inputs, and crop characteristics. The results showed a mixed picture where plots without SWC generally have higher yield values per hectare. However, plots with SWC are significantly steeper and more eroded than plots without SWC. A more careful analysis of a two-stage random effects–switching regression estimation comparing three SWC technologies to plots without SWC indicated that SWC increased the returns from degraded plots and sometimes from other inputs. A simulation exercise based on these estimations also showed that, in most cases, adoption has been beneficial for those who have done it and would be beneficial for those who have not.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/21493
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 402.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 30 Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0402

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Keywords: Kenya; soil conservation; switching regression; rural households; yields;

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  1. Barrett, Christopher B. & Moser, Christine M., 2003. "Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes in Productivity and Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22251, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  2. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
  3. Byiringiro, Fidele & Reardon, Thomas, 1996. "Farm productivity in Rwanda: effects of farm size, erosion, and soil conservation investments," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 127-136, November.
  4. George E. Battese, 1997. "A Note On The Estimation Of Cobb-Douglas Production Functions When Some Explanatory Variables Have Zero Values," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1-3), pages 250-252.
  5. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1995. "Can unobserved land quality explain the inverse productivity relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-84, February.
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