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Economic incentives to use fertilizer on maize under differing agro-ecological conditions in Burkina Faso

Author

Listed:
  • Veronique Theriault

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Melinda Smale

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Hamza Haider

    () (Michigan State University)

Abstract

Abstract Increasing agricultural productivity while protecting natural resources depends on proper understanding of farmers’ incentives to use intensification strategies, including fertilizer. Using a large-scale household dataset collected in rural Burkina Faso, we examined how the response of maize yield to fertilizer, and thus the economic incentives for its use, varied according to agro-ecological conditions. We employed a Control Function Approach with Correlated Random Effects in order to test and control for endogeneity of fertilizer use, measuring agro-ecological conditions at several scales. We investigated the profitability of fertilizer use with value-cost ratios. We found that productivity and marginal effects of fertilizer differ significantly according to agro-ecological conditions. Micro-variation appeared to be more critical than the definition of agro-ecological zone. Burkinabe soils are severely degraded and would benefit from greater application of fertilizer. However, at full market prices, fertilizer use was unprofitable. Though it was profitable with subsidized prices, transaction costs diminish the benefits of the subsidy. Profitability of fertilizer use with maize varied across agro-ecological conditions, even for field plots located in the same agro-ecological zone. Our results confirm that policy makers need to be cautious when generalizing across regions or drawing policy recommendations from a single agro-ecological zone because crop responses and economic incentives vary widely.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronique Theriault & Melinda Smale & Hamza Haider, 2018. "Economic incentives to use fertilizer on maize under differing agro-ecological conditions in Burkina Faso," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 10(5), pages 1263-1277, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:10:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s12571-018-0842-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s12571-018-0842-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ayala Wineman & C. Leigh Anderson & Travis W. Reynolds & Pierre Biscaye, 2019. "Methods of crop yield measurement on multi-cropped plots: Examples from Tanzania," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 11(6), pages 1257-1273, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Yield response to nitrogen; Value-cost ratios; Subsidy; Agro-ecologies; West Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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