Farmers’ Perceptions of Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Yield Response in Kenya

53 Pages Posted: 19 May 2011 Last revised: 24 May 2011

Paswel Marenya

Cornell University

Christopher B. Barrett

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

Trudi Gulick

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 1, 2008

Abstract

To develop soil fertility techniques that respond to farmers’ actual concerns, researchers and agricultural development practitioners in developing countries need to identify how farmers in those regions form perceptions on soil quality and crop response to inputs. Using survey and farm soils data collected in 2002 and 2005 from smallholder farmers in western Kenya, we study whether farmers’ subjective perceptions of soil fertility and impacts of fertilizer vary statistically with objective estimates generated by laboratory and statistical procedures. Our results show that farmers’ perceptions of soil fertility on their plots are largely determined by observed crop yields. By contrast, farmers’ perceptions on the impacts of fertilizer on yields vary rather closely with estimated returns to fertilizer application. This suggests that farmers’ perceptions of soil fertility and the impacts of fertilizer are driven by observed yields. Implications for fertilizer use (the focus of current soil fertility management policies) and long term and integrated soil fertility management are drawn.

Suggested Citation

Marenya, Paswel and Barrett, Christopher B. and Gulick, Trudi, Farmers’ Perceptions of Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Yield Response in Kenya (August 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1845546 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1845546

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/

Trudi Gulick

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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