Impact of Land Institutional Factors on Farm Management and Soil Quality
Soil quality has important implications for sustainable agricultural development and food self-sufficiency in many developing countries. A decrease in soil nutrient stocks, one of the components of soil quality, necessitates more inputs and greater management skills in order to compensate for the reduction in nutrients availability. This is why the interaction of agricultural development and soil quality management attracts widespread attention from researchers. Applying plot level data on input/output, and a selected number of soil quality indicators and farm household level information, from the three villages, this paper examines the impact of land fragmentation and land tenure on soil management, the dynamic component of soil quality, crop husbandry and rice yield at plot level. A 2SLS econometric approach is applied to simultaneously estimate the interlinked relationships between these variables. From these results we conclude that land fragmentation does play a role in farm management practices and decisions. The land tenure status of a plot does not affect crop husbandry decisions on labor and herbicide use. Farmers on rented-in plots do, however, use more chemical fertilizers (phosphorus and potassium). This implies that farmers care more about short-term yields than about the built-up of long-term soil productivity. In order to sustain long-term soil productivity, measures should be taken to ensure that the prices for renting land reflect such soil investments.
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