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Soil, water and crop management alternatives in rainfed agriculture in the Sahel: an economic analysis


  • Day, John C.
  • Hughes, David W.
  • Butcher, Walter R.


Most agriculture in the Sahel Region is carried out under rainfed conditions where low and uncertain soil moisture levels limit productivity. Improved soil, water and crop management practices are required to reverse the steady decline in per capita food production and sustain output over the long term. Several technological innovations and related farm management practices are evaluated in a case study of a typical farm in Mali. Through use of a soil-water balance model and a whole-farm economic model an optimal mix of these measures is identified. Compared to a base case where no modern inputs are utilized, the combination of animal traction (oxen team), low levels of NPK fertilizer, tied-ridges, traditional long-season food grain crops and early planting was most effective: food grain output was 35% higher than with the traditional base case; soil erosion was reduced by 72%; and even with residual future soil erosion damage capitalized into current income, net farm income was larger by a factor of almost 45.
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  • Day, John C. & Hughes, David W. & Butcher, Walter R., 1992. "Soil, water and crop management alternatives in rainfed agriculture in the Sahel: an economic analysis," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 7(3-4), pages 267-287, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:7:y:1992:i:3-4:p:267-287

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graham Pyatt & Chau-nan Chen & John Fei, 1980. "The Distribution of Income by Factor Components," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 451-473.
    2. Anderson, Dennis & Leiserson, Mark W, 1980. "Rural Nonfarm Employment in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 227-248, January.
    3. Shand, R T, 1987. "Income Distribution in a Dynamic Rural Sector: Some Evidence from Malaysia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 35-50, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hengsdijk, H. & van Ittersum, M. K., 2002. "A goal-oriented approach to identify and engineer land use systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 231-247, March.
    2. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein, 1998. "A Farm Household Analysis of Land Use and Soil Conservation Decisions of Smallholder Farmers in the Ethiopian Highlands," 1998 Fourth AFMA Congress, January 26-30, 1998, Stellenbosch, South Africa 187624, African Farm Management Association (AFMA).
    3. Baidu-Forson, J., 1999. "Factors influencing adoption of land-enhancing technology in the Sahel: lessons from a case study in Niger," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 231-239, May.
    4. Gray, Leslie C. & Kevane, Michael, 2001. "Evolving Tenure Rights and Agricultural Intensification in Southwestern Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 573-587, April.

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