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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020543

Does Fertilizer Education Program Increase the Technical Efficiency of Chemical Fertilizer Use? Evidence from Wheat Production in China

1
College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Department of Economics and Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Ames 50010, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract

Farmers in China and many other developing countries suffer from low technical efficiency of chemical fertilizer use, which leads to excessive nutrient runoff and other environmental problems. A major cause of the low efficiency is lack of science-based information and recommendations for nutrient application. In response, the Chinese government launched an ambitious nationwide program called the “Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendation Project” (STFRP) in 2005 to increase the efficiency of chemical fertilizer use. However, there has been no systematic evaluation of this program. Using data from a nationally representative household survey, and using wheat as an example, this paper first quantifies the technical efficiency of chemical fertilizer use (TEFU) by conducting stochastic frontier analysis (SFA), then evaluates the impact of STFRP on the TEFU using a generalized difference-in-difference approach. We found that STFRP, on average, increased TEFU in wheat production by about 4%, which was robust across various robustness checks. The lessons learned from STFRP will be valuable for China’s future outreach efforts, as well as for other countries considering similar nutrient management policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: technical efficiency of chemical fertilizer use; nutrient management; difference-in-difference (DID); stochastic frontier analysis (SFA); agricultural input efficiency; China technical efficiency of chemical fertilizer use; nutrient management; difference-in-difference (DID); stochastic frontier analysis (SFA); agricultural input efficiency; China
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Wang, P.; Zhang, W.; Li, M.; Han, Y. Does Fertilizer Education Program Increase the Technical Efficiency of Chemical Fertilizer Use? Evidence from Wheat Production in China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 543.

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