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Fertilizer Use in China: The Role of Agricultural Support Policies

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  • Yinhao Wu

    (Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
    The College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China)

  • Enru Wang

    (Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
    Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA)

  • Changhong Miao

    (Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
    The College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China)

Abstract

Using a decomposition method, this paper proposes an analytical framework to investigate the mechanisms by which agricultural support policies affect farmers’ use of fertilizers in agriculture in China. The mechanisms are decomposed into “three effects” (structural, scale, and technological effects). It is found that China’s agricultural support polices have significantly contributed to the increased use of agricultural fertilizers through encouraging farmers to bring more land under cultivation (the scale effect). Meanwhile, some policies have also helped reduce fertilizer consumption when farmers were motivated to increase the area of grains crops (the structural effect). The role of technological progress in affecting fertilizer consumption (the technological effect) appears to be minimal and uncertain. Compared to direct subsidies, indirect subsidies play a much greater role in affecting farmers’ production decision making and are more environmentally consequential. This paper argues that some of China’s agricultural support policies are not well aligned with one key objective of the country’s rural policies—improving environmental sustainability. It is recommended that the government takes measures to reform agricultural support policies and to reconcile agricultural and rural policies in order to achieve sustainable rural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Yinhao Wu & Enru Wang & Changhong Miao, 2019. "Fertilizer Use in China: The Role of Agricultural Support Policies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(16), pages 1-23, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:16:p:4391-:d:257369
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    Cited by:

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    2. Zemin Zhang & Changhe Lu, 2020. "Clustering Analysis of Soybean Production to Understand its Spatiotemporal Dynamics in the North China Plain," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(15), pages 1-15, July.
    3. Lin Xie & Zeyuan Qiu & Liangzhi You & Yang Kang, 2020. "A Macro Perspective on the Relationship between Farm Size and Agrochemicals Use in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(21), pages 1-17, November.

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