Beata Itin‐Shwartz

Survey based assessment of sustainable agricultural practices: Evidence from Indian plots

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Food Science

AbstractIn recent years concerns have been raised regarding the environmental consequences of over‐use of nitrogen fertilizers on a global level. However, the balance between sustainability and agricultural productivity, a central concern for policy makers in developing countries, has not been sufficiently addressed. In this paper, I evaluate farmers’ fertilization practices and their effect on yield using unique plot level data from India. I estimate quadratic crop response functions for different crops and cropping systems. To address endogenous input choices, I use input prices and cost shifters from the fertilizer industry as instrumental variables for the fertilization practice. I find that a large share of Indian cultivators overuse nitrogen relative to the other two nutrients, and could benefit from simply reducing the amount of nitrogen used while keeping the other nutrients fixed. This suggests a potential win‐win situation where both productivity and sustainability can be improved by changing fertilizer application. The widespread “nitrogen‐only” fertilization pattern is rejected as optimal in most cases. [EconLit Citations: Q12, Q15, Q16, E23, C26, C14].

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