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Does land perform well for corn planting? An empirical study on land use efficiency in China

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  • Zhang, Qian
  • Sun, Zhongxiao
  • Huang, Wei

Abstract

To assess land quality for cropping, this study developed a land performance indicator (LPI), namely efficiency of total land productivity potential (TLPP), by incorporating the heterogeneity of land quality for individual agricultural production units when evaluating the performance of land for corn planting, using stochastic frontier analysis. Without taking into account land quality, the technical efficiency (TE) of corn production cannot be reasonably compared across regions because the variation in land quality is significant. The estimated mean TE was 0.77, which illustrates that there is still potential to increase output by 23%, without increasing inputs, if all agricultural production units emulate the best performing production units. The results demonstrated that the mean LPI was 0.273, with a maximum value of 1.0, implying that a large gap exists between the minimum optimum use of TLPP and observed TLPP. This finding indicates that corn planting units can achieve the same outputs with less land inputs through improving the land productivity per unit. The results also revealed that operational units with greater farm area are likely to be more efficient than with those with a smaller area, which suggests that enlarging farm area and promoting household cooperation and joint management practices are imperative to achieve agricultural modernization, enhance the competitiveness of China’s agricultural production in the global market, and effectively disengage labor from agricultural production and transfer the resulting surplus labor to cities.

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  • Zhang, Qian & Sun, Zhongxiao & Huang, Wei, 2018. "Does land perform well for corn planting? An empirical study on land use efficiency in China," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 273-280.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:lauspo:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:273-280
    DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.10.032
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