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Fertilizer and Sustainable Intensification in Africa

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  • Holden , Stein T.

    () (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Abstract

The paper investigates the important role of fertilizer to enhance sustainable intensification and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa based on a multi-disciplinary literature review. The review starts with a macro-perspective taking population growth, economic development and climate change into account. This is complemented with a micro-perspective summarizing findings from comprehensive micro-data in selected African countries. Agronomic, environmental and economic profitability implications of fertilizer use are reviewed. An assessment is made whether small farmers in Africa should be considered rational or partly irrational agricultural decision-makers and whether this can affect fertilizer use. I then discuss some controversial and promising policy approaches that may have the potential to enhance sustainable intensification and nutrient use efficiency in African agriculture before I conclude.

Suggested Citation

  • Holden , Stein T., 2018. "Fertilizer and Sustainable Intensification in Africa," CLTS Working Papers 1/18, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 16 Oct 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2018_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
    2. Michael R. Carter & Rachid Laajaj & Dean Yang, 2014. "Subsidies and the Persistence of Technology Adoption: Field Experimental Evidence from Mozambique," NBER Working Papers 20465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein T., 1998. "Resource degradation and adoption of land conservation technologies in the Ethiopian Highlands: A case study in Andit Tid, North Shewa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 233-247, May.
    4. Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 159-209, January.
    5. Holden, Stein & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2006. "Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 15-38, February.
    6. Paswel P. Marenya & Christopher B. Barrett, 2009. "State-conditional Fertilizer Yield Response on Western Kenyan Farms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(4), pages 991-1006.
    7. Stein T. Holden & John Quiggin, 2017. "Climate risk and state-contingent technology adoption: shocks, drought tolerance and preferences," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 285-308.
    8. Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize, 2012. "Is There Too Much Hype about Index-based Agricultural Insurance?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 187-200, February.
    9. T.S. Jayne & David Mather & Nicole Mason & Jacob Ricker-Gilbert, 2013. "How do fertilizer subsidy programs affect total fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa? Crowding out, diversion, and benefit/cost assessments," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(6), pages 687-703, November.
    10. Collier, Paul, 2008. "The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195374636.
    11. Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2017. "Ten striking facts about agricultural input use in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 12-25.
    12. Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 663-674, May.
    13. Fisher, Monica & Holden , Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "The adoption potential of Conservation Agriculture technologies in Malawi: A lead farmer promoter-adopter approach and assessment," CLTS Working Papers 1/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 21 Oct 2019.
    14. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
    15. Holden , Stein T. & Quiggin, John, 2017. "Probability Weighting and Input Use Intensity in a State-Contingent Framework," CLTS Working Papers 8/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 21 Oct 2019.
    16. Aslihan Arslan & Nancy McCarthy & Leslie Lipper & Solomon Asfaw & Andrea Cattaneo & Misael Kokwe, 2015. "Climate Smart Agriculture? Assessing the Adaptation Implications in Zambia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 753-780, September.
    17. Fisher, Monica & Holden, Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "Adoption of CA technologies among Followers of Lead Farmers: How Strong is the Influence from Lead Farmers?," CLTS Working Papers 7/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 21 Oct 2019.
    18. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 139, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    19. Holden, Stein T. & Shiferaw, Bekele & Wik, Mette, 1998. "Poverty, market imperfections and time preferences: of relevance for environmental policy?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 105-130, February.
    20. Craig McIntosh & Alexander Sarris & Fotis Papadopoulos, 2013. "Productivity, credit, risk, and the demand for weather index insurance in smallholder agriculture in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(4-5), pages 399-417, July.
    21. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele & Pender, John, 2005. "Policy analysis for sustainable land management and food security in Ethiopia: a bioeconomic model with market imperfections," Research reports 140, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    22. Barbier, Edward B., 2010. "Poverty, development, and environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(6), pages 635-660, December.
    23. Zhiying Xu & William J. Burke & Thomas S. Jayne & Jones Govereh, 2009. "Do input subsidy programs “crowd in” or “crowd out” commercial market development? Modeling fertilizer demand in a two‐channel marketing system," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(1), pages 79-94, January.
    24. Author-Name: Jeffrey D. Sachs & John W. McArthur & Guido Schmidt-Traub & Margaret Kruk & Chandrika Bahadur & Michael Faye & Gordon McCord, 2004. "Ending Africa's Poverty Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 117-240.
    25. Bezu, Sosina & Holden, Stein, 2008. "Can food-for-work encourage agricultural production?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 541-549, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sub-Saharan Africa; fertilizer; sustainable intensification; food security; policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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