Heterogeneity in farmers' production decisions and its impact on soil nutrient use: Results and implications from northern Nigeria
Sustainable use (in terms of nutrients) of soil resources by farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa is constrained by institutions and markets. This paper explores the case of northern Nigeria, by using a combination of multi-attribute utility theory and bio-economic modelling. This approach allowed us to identify heterogeneity in production strategies and to quantify its effect on the use of soil nutrient resources. We find that farmers with larger land holdings place more emphasis on gross margins in their utility function, while those with larger holdings of fertile fadama fields place more emphasis on sustainability. Risk aversion, operationalised through variance minimization, appears an important attribute in the utility function of many farm households that are more dependent on agriculture for their overall income. A regression analysis shows that differences in production strategies significantly affect nutrient balances, but also shows that such effects are heterogeneous across locations. We find more favourable nutrient balances for some of the more market-oriented farm households who place more emphasis on sustainability. In farm plans of the most risk-averse households, the production of cereals for subsistence consumption dominates and leads to negative soil nutrient balances, especially for potassium. Farmers who place a large importance on gross margins are likely to benefit most from policies aimed at enhancing profitability through improving functioning of markets. The large group of risk-averse farmers will have the largest immediate gain in utility from policies and technologies aimed at reducing production risk in high-value crops. Additional policies aimed at creating a stronger market-oriented production by the least-endowed farm households could play a role in reducing intensity of soil fertility mining. Under these conditions, the efficient cropping pattern shifts partially from cereal cropping to high-value crops, associated with higher input use. The main results are similar to those in other studies, although some of the nutrient balances are less negative. The results do appear to be sensitive to the type of cropping activities included in the analysis, and additional methodological research is required. Extensions of the used method should further account for temporal and spatial differences in soil fertility, leading to differences in nutrient uptake and production, as well as potential temporal heterogeneity in production strategies.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- van Calker, K.J. & Berentsen, P.B.M. & Romero, C. & Giesen, G.W.J. & Huirne, R.B.M., 2006. "Development and application of a multi-attribute sustainability function for Dutch dairy farming systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 640-658, June.
- José A. Gómez-Limón & Laura Riesgo & Manuel Arriaza, 2004. "Multi-Criteria Analysis of Input Use in Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 541-564.
- Gomez-Limon, Jose A. & Arriaza, Manuel & Riesgo, Laura, 2003. "An MCDM analysis of agricultural risk aversion," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 151(3), pages 569-585, December.
- Giller, Ken E. & Rowe, Ed C. & de Ridder, Nico & van Keulen, Herman, 2006. "Resource use dynamics and interactions in the tropics: Scaling up in space and time," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 8-27, April.
- Ellis, Frank, 2000. "Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296966, May.
- Simar, Leopold & Wilson, Paul W., 2007. "Estimation and inference in two-stage, semi-parametric models of production processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 31-64, January.
- Johannes Woelcke, 2006. "Technological and policy options for sustainable agricultural intensification in eastern Uganda," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 129-139, 03.
- Schreinemachers, Pepijn & Berger, Thomas & Aune, Jens B., 2007. "Simulating soil fertility and poverty dynamics in Uganda: A bio-economic multi-agent systems approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 387-401, December.
- David R. Lee & Christopher B. Barrett & John G. McPeak, 2006. "Policy, technology, and management strategies for achieving sustainable agricultural intensification," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 123-127, 03.
- Janssen, Sander & van Ittersum, Martin K., 2007. "Assessing farm innovations and responses to policies: A review of bio-economic farm models," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 622-636, June.
- Rovere, Roberto La & Keulen van, Herman & Hiernaux, Pierre & Szonyi, Judit & A. Schipper, Robert, 2008. "Intensification scenarios in south-western Niger: Implications for revisiting fertilizer policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 156-164, April.
- Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
- Okike, I.O. & Jabbar, Mohammad A. & Manyong, Victor M. & Smith, J.W. & Akinwumi, J.A. & Ehui, S., 2001. "Agricultural intensification and efficiency in the West African savannas: evidence from northern Nigeria," Research Reports 182891, International Livestock Research Institute.
- Huirne, R B M & Hardaker, J B, 1998. "A Multi-Attribute Utility Model to Optimise Sow Replacement Decisions," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 488-505.
- Barbier, Bruno, 1998. "Induced innovation and land degradation: Results from a bioeconomic model of a village in West Africa," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 19(1-2), September.
- Barbier, Bruno, 1998. "Induced innovation and land degradation: Results from a bioeconomic model of a village in West Africa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 15-25, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:1:p:63-74. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.