Impact of Changes in Fertilizer on Agricultural Productivity and Profits
Discuss about the Experimental evidence from female rice farmers.
The paper chosen for this essay is the one on Profitability of fertilizer: Experimental evidence from female rice farmers in Mali. This paper is essentially and economic paper focused in the field of agro-economy. It focuses on the change in production of the agricultural production of rice in Mali by changing in the quantity used of one of the variables. The one variable used as an input that is altered here is the amount of fertilizers used for the production of rice in Mali (Beaman et al., 2013). This paper helps analyze how a change in any one of the inputs causes an overall change in the other variables affecting the output, thus altering productivity in terms of output. The paper attempts to carry out primary research and also compares its methodologies and results to a previous conducted research on the same topic.
The paper studies the impact of the change on all other inputs that are altered on the basis of optimization to reach greater productivities in terms of outputs (Beaman et al., 2013). The paper claims and asserts that the change in the amount of one of the inputs causes re-optimization of the other inputs thus making it difficult for the researcher to calculate the total amount of change in productivity that is attributable to the change in the input altered. The paper highlights how the increased provision of fertilizers to the women who cultivate rice in Mali causes them to increase the use of other products for production of rice. Rice has been chosen as the crop because it is the most widely cultivated crop that is the staple food for most parts of Africa (Beaman et al., 2013). Further, it has been studies that even though the amount of output or production increases, the amount of profits does not necessarily increase. This in turn helps us to analyze that the impact of the change in fertilizers used on the cultivation of rice is minimum and almost negligible. Because of this negligible impact of fertilizers on the amounts of profit generated, it is difficult for farmers as well as researchers to gauge the amount of profit accrued because of the change in the amount of fertilizers used. Thus it is difficult for farmers to calculate how much the inputs used for cultivation of rice should be altered to gain a particular increase in the amount of profits. This clearly affects the process of decision making on the part of the farmers.
Comparison to Similar Studies on Fertilizers Usage in Africa
The entire experiment is essentially conducted in real fields instead of experimental fields so that genuine and robust results are obtained. This helps in better demonstration of agricultural practices and how the profitability varies with the alteration of the agricultural practices. The sample was divided into two random groups out of which one was provided with half percentage of new fertilizers and the other half was provided with full percentage of new fertilizers and the results were in turn compared (Beaman et al., 2013). Again women farmers were considered for the study as majority of farmers in this area are women. It was found that an increase in inputs cause an increase in outputs by 31% on an average and the increase in output for the group provided with half the amount of fertilizers provided to the other group is less.
“Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya” is a paper cited by this paper that brings to light the scenario existing in the context of farmers being able to make proper and profitable fertilizer investments in Kenya. This paper sheds light on the problem of how farmers do not buy fertilizers and implement the usage of the same at a time when they should (Duflo, Kremer & Robinson, 2011). The farmers procrastinate at a time when it is very essential for them to actually invest and take up efforts and then become anxious when there is not ample time left to buy the fertilizers. It focuses on the decreased use of fertilizers in Africa unlike the rest of the world as it lacks in bagging the latest technological innovations or improved methods for reaching higher productivity as well as better quality. The paper discusses the methods in which farmers in this area of the world have to be provided with easier investment options in the form of subsidies in order for them to use and apply better technology to gain higher revenue and profit generation. However, the major aim of the paper is to address the issue that because of the use of high quantities of fertilizers there is higher yield of agricultural production in Asia and because of the absence of the same in Africa the agricultural productivity has remained stagnant. The paper also tries to explain the usage of options like delivering the fertilizers for free and delivering the fertilizers for free as well as providing subsidies for greater amounts of fertilizers used. This paper differs from the one being discussed in this essay in the way that this paper portrays a different view or insight and focuses on the problem of usage of fertilizers and how can this problem be overcome unlike this paper which focuses on the change in outputs and profits generated on changing the quality and amount of fertilizers used as input. In fact, the paper being discussed in this essay is in prolongation to the paper focused on the usage of fertilizers as a whole in Kenya and Africa. While one paper asserts the importance of the use of fertilizers, the other investigates and infers the change in productivity on increased usage of fertilizers.
Practical Application of Primary Research on Agricultural Production in Africa
Learning Through Noticing: Theory and Experimental Evidence in Farming is a paper that cites the paper under discussion in this essay. This paper again studies the nature of farmers through noticing of their activities and behaviors. This paper is also both theoretical and experimental in nature (Hanna, Mullainathan & Schwartzstein, 2014). The paper focuses on the optimization decisions made by the farmers while deciding on the levels of fertilizers used and the production decisions. It brings to light the various nuances faced by the farmers in the absence of detailed attention being payed to the minute details of farming. This paper essentially collates and substitutes the experimental observations into the theoretical propositions to reach a strong conclusion consisting of complex yet robust results. The paper essentially divides an agricultural year into two halves and studies the relation in between the risk taking capacities of the farmers with the productivities yielded by them. This paper is different from the paper under study in this essay in the form that it is more theoretical in nature as compared to the paper discussed in this essay.
The paper is important in its own field as it tries to understand the difference in the productivity of that region based on an increase in the amount of fertilizers. As a matter of fact, this paper is also very robust and accurate in its estimations and predictions as it truly captures the scenarios of output generated when full amounts of fertilizers are used and when half the amounts of fertilizers are used. Further, this paper considers random sampling and all the variables necessary to reach a conclusion about the research question under consideration. Further, the research analyses the impact of the use of new fertilizers on the output and the associated re-optimization of other inputs used with the help of rigorous statistical calculations and analysis taking the values of mean and standard deviation into consideration. However, the paper does not include or consider the role of the firms and hence fails to reach any inference about the impact of the change in use of fertilizers on the profit generated. Even then the paper captures important aspects encompassing the research question under consideration. For example, the paper tries to infer the impact on the change in labor and economic organization of the families to which the women in the sample provided with fertilizer grants belong. That there has been no significant change in the amount of labor employed or used and also in the economic organization of the families is confirmed as one of the results of the paper. The paper also proves that the total amount of expenditure including both the expenditure on the fertilizers used as well as the labor costs was significantly increased. In all the paper is very helpful for generating insight into the scenario of agriculture existing in Africa and helps us in realizing the gap of productivity in the field of agriculture in between Africa and the rest of the world. Even though the paper is weak in the aspect of segregating the impact of the use of fertilizers individually on the increase in output, it is still efficient in addressing the research question and bringing to light lesser known facts. The impact on the profit generated is not found in an accurate method and measure but the overall impact is analyzed which makes the paper fulfilling.
Beaman, L., Karlan, D., Thuysbaert, B., & Udry, C. (2013). Profitability of fertilizer: Experimental evidence from female rice farmers in Mali. American Economic Review, 103(3), 381-86.
Duflo, E., Kremer, M., & Robinson, J. (2011). Nudging farmers to use fertilizer: Theory and experimental evidence from Kenya. American Economic Review, 101(6), 2350-90.
Hanna, R., Mullainathan, S., & Schwartzstein, J. (2014). Learning through noticing: Theory and evidence from a field experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3), 1311-1353.
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