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Earth Institute Research Projects

Testing the Capital Constraint: designing policies to promote small farmer organic fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa

Lead PI: Hope Michelson

Unit Affiliation: Cross-Cutting Initiative (CCI)

July 2011 - December 2012
Inactive
Africa ; Sub-Saharan Africa ; Mozambique ; Malawi
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The project explored how to better adopt economically viable policies to improve soil fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Though the use of fertilizers can bring near-term improvement in yields and household food security while replenishing soil nutrients critical for future productivity gains, farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have made chronically scant use of these critical inputs.

OUTCOMES: The analysis looked at several hypotheses that are critical to the design and implementation of policy interventions to improve agricultural technology adoption and design and implement a set of experiments to be conducted with groups of farmers that will elicit farmers’ preferences over adoption incentive packages and assess farmers’ willingness to accept payment for the adoption of organic fertilizer methods. The data collected on farmer soil quality, risk preferences, discount rates, and household demographics will permit study of the relationship between starting soil health, risk, wage rates, wealth, and the expected profitability of farmer adoption of organic fertilizers.

SPONSOR:

The Earth Institute

FUNDED AMOUNT:

$30,000

RESEARCH TEAM:

Elke Weber, Pedro Sanchez, Rohit Jindal

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY COLLABORATORS:

Agriculture and Food Security Center (AgCenter), Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

EXTERNAL COLLABORATORS:

International Food Policy Research Institute

KEYWORDS

ecology organic fertilizer soil improvement fertilizer subsidy nutrition mineral fertilizers food

THEMES

Stewardship of the planet