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Integrating soil science into agricultural production frontiers

  • Ekbom, Anders
  • Alem, Yonas
  • Sterner, Thomas

This paper integrates soil science variables into an economic analysis of agricultural output among small-scale farmers in Kenya's highlands. The integration is valuable because farmers’ choice of inputs depends on both the status of the soil and socioeconomic conditions. The study uses a stochastic production frontier in which the individual farm's distance to the frontier depends systematically on individual factors. We show the importance of including key soil properties and find that phosphorus has a negative output elasticity, suggesting that farms may be using the wrong fertilizer mix. Hence, the central policy implication is that while fertilizers are generally beneficial, their application needs to be based on better soil information. This highlights the importance of strengthening agricultural extension, increased access to markets and more diversified supply of production inputs.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2013)
Issue (Month): 03 (June)
Pages: 291-308

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:18:y:2013:i:03:p:291-308_00
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  1. Jacoby, H.G., 1990. "Shadow Wages And Peasant Family Labor Supply; An Econometric Application To The Peruvian Sierra," Papers 73, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  2. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  3. Deolalikar, Anil B & Vijverberg, Wim P M, 1987. "A Test of Heterogeneity of Family and Hired Labour in Asian Agriculture," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(3), pages 291-305, August.
  4. Udry, Christopher & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Gender differentials in farm productivity: implications for household efficiency and agricultural policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 407-423, October.
  5. Sherlund, Shane M. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Adesina, Akinwumi A., 2002. "Smallholder technical efficiency controlling for environmental production conditions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 85-101, October.
  6. Florent Kinkingninhoun-Mêdagbé & Aliou Diagne & Franklin Simtowe & Afiavi Agboh-Noameshie & Patrice Adégbola, 2010. "Gender discrimination and its impact on income, productivity, and technical efficiency: evidence from Benin," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 57-69, March.
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