State-Conditional Fertilizer Yield Response on Western Kenyan Farms

Posted: 8 Oct 2009

See all articles by Paswel Marenya

Paswel Marenya

Cornell University

Christopher B. Barrett

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2009-02

Abstract

Fertilizer interventions have attained prominence in rural poverty reduction programs in Africa. Using data from maize plots operated by small farmers in western Kenya, we find a von Liebig-type relationship between soil organic matter (SOM) and maize yield response to nitrogen application. Low SOM commonly limits the yield response to mineral fertilizer application. Although fertilizer is, on average, profitable in our sample, on roughly one-third of the plots degraded soils limit the marginal productivity of fertilizer such that it becomes unprofitable at prevailing prices. Moreover, because poorer farmers most commonly cultivate soils deficient in SOM, fertilizer interventions might be less pro-poor than is widely assumed and may instead reinforce ex ante income inequality.

Suggested Citation

Marenya, Paswel and Barrett, Christopher B., State-Conditional Fertilizer Yield Response on Western Kenyan Farms (2009-02). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 91, Issue 4, pp. 991-1006, November 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1483976 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2009.01313.x

Paswel Marenya (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Christopher B. Barrett

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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