Soil Quality and Fertilizer Use Rates Among Smallholder Farmers in Western Kenya

Posted: 20 May 2011

See all articles by Paswel Marenya

Paswel Marenya

Cornell University

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Date Written: August 18, 2009

Abstract

Studies of fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa have been dominated by analyses of economic and market factors having to do with infrastructure, institutions, and incentives that prevent or foster increased fertilizer demand, largely ignoring how soil fertility status conditions farmer demand for fertilizer. We apply a switching regression model to data from 260 farm households in western Kenya in order to allow for the possibility of discontinuities in fertilizer demand based on a soil carbon content (SCC) threshold. We find that the usual factors reflecting liquidity and quasi-fixed inputs are important on high-SCC plots but not on those with poorer soils. External inputs become less effective on soils with low SCC, hence the discernible shift in behaviors across soil quality regimes. For many farmers, improved fertilizer market conditions alone may be insufficient to stimulate increased fertilizer use without complementary improvements in the biophysical conditions that affect conditional factor demand.

Keywords: Fertilizer demand, Fertilizer policy, Soil carbon, Soil organic matter, Switching regression

JEL Classification: Q12, Q18, Q24

Suggested Citation

Marenya, Paswel and Barrett, Christopher B., Soil Quality and Fertilizer Use Rates Among Smallholder Farmers in Western Kenya (August 18, 2009). Agricultural Economics, Vol. 40, No. 5, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1846587

Paswel Marenya

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

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