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Geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and of resale prices in north Ethiopia

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Abstract
Low mineral fertiliser use received much attention in Africa over the last decades. As fertiliser sales have exponentially grown in Ethiopia, and evidence exists of a supply that is beyond the demand in the drier northern parts of the country, we investigated the geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and its resale prices in north Ethiopia. Quantitative data on fertiliser provision and prices on the black market in 2016 were obtained from official statistics and from key informants in each of the 35 studied districts and in all municipalities of the Raya area. Environmental variables were collected from spatial databases. To promote inorganic fertiliser, agricultural experts use incentives, and also barter the purchase of fertiliser by a farmer against food aid or other advantages from the authorities. The high application rate that is aimed at (200 kg ha(-1)) contrasts with the dominance of less-responsive soils in the study area, for which inorganic fertiliser application does not result in higher crop yields, or even leads to root burn. The quantitative analysis shows that 40.7 10(3) Mg of fertiliser were officially sold in the study area in 2016, which corresponds to 52 kg ha(-1). This is notably different from the application rate, as reselling widely occurs, at 50% of the official price for diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 54% for urea, mostly to users outside the community. By accepting the opportunity offered by agricultural companies and traders, smallholders save themselves from greatei losses. The black market rate is strongly and positively correlated to monthly rainfall at sowing time (July 2016) (R-2 = 0.44; n = 31; p < 0.01). In the four districts with spate irrigation, black market prices for inorganic fertiliser are low (35% of the official rate) and small quantities are sold officially (32 kg ha(-1)). This corresponds to the farmers' saying that there "nobody needs inorganic fertiliser since the spate irrigation adds organic and inorganic nutrients yearly". We found similarities to the 'Green Revolution' in Mexico: the forced delivery of high-cost fertiliser, and the reselling at half price in the black market. Inorganic fertilisers are one of the elements that have allowed boosting agricultural production in Ethiopia; our findings indicate however that in the study area, the fertiliser policy needs to be much fine-tuned so that it is led by agronomic needs, rather than by statistics of inorganic fertiliser consumption, that hide complex environmental variability and socio-political relations.
Keywords
SPATIOTEMPORAL RAINFALL VARIABILITY, SOIL FERTILITY, POVERTY TRAPS, STONE BUNDS, HIGHLANDS, CONSERVATION, INNOVATIONS, ADOPTION, EROSION, SYSTEMS, Chemical fertiliser, Spate irrigation, Black market, Integrated soil, fertility management

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Chicago
Nyssen, Jan, Birhanu Biruk, Zbelo Tesfamariam Welemaram, Amaury Frankl, Biadgilgn Demissie, Tesfaalem Ghebreyohannes, Hailemariam Meaza Gebregergs, et al. 2017. “Geographical Determinants of Inorganic Fertiliser Sales and of Resale Prices in North Ethiopia.” Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 249: 256–268.
APA
Nyssen, Jan, Biruk, B., Welemaram, Z. T., Frankl, A., Demissie, B., Ghebreyohannes, T., Gebregergs, H. M., et al. (2017). Geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and of resale prices in north Ethiopia. AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT, 249, 256–268.
Vancouver
1.
Nyssen J, Biruk B, Welemaram ZT, Frankl A, Demissie B, Ghebreyohannes T, et al. Geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and of resale prices in north Ethiopia. AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT. 2017;249:256–68.
MLA
Nyssen, Jan, Birhanu Biruk, Zbelo Tesfamariam Welemaram, et al. “Geographical Determinants of Inorganic Fertiliser Sales and of Resale Prices in North Ethiopia.” AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT 249 (2017): 256–268. Print.
@article{8534905,
  abstract     = {Low mineral fertiliser use received much attention in Africa over the last decades. As fertiliser sales have exponentially grown in Ethiopia, and evidence exists of a supply that is beyond the demand in the drier northern parts of the country, we investigated the geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and its resale prices in north Ethiopia. Quantitative data on fertiliser provision and prices on the black market in 2016 were obtained from official statistics and from key informants in each of the 35 studied districts and in all municipalities of the Raya area. Environmental variables were collected from spatial databases. To promote inorganic fertiliser, agricultural experts use incentives, and also barter the purchase of fertiliser by a farmer against food aid or other advantages from the authorities. The high application rate that is aimed at (200 kg ha(-1)) contrasts with the dominance of less-responsive soils in the study area, for which inorganic fertiliser application does not result in higher crop yields, or even leads to root burn. The quantitative analysis shows that 40.7 10(3) Mg of fertiliser were officially sold in the study area in 2016, which corresponds to 52 kg ha(-1). This is notably different from the application rate, as reselling widely occurs, at 50\% of the official price for diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 54\% for urea, mostly to users outside the community. By accepting the opportunity offered by agricultural companies and traders, smallholders save themselves from greatei losses. The black market rate is strongly and positively correlated to monthly rainfall at sowing time (July 2016) (R-2 = 0.44; n = 31; p {\textlangle} 0.01). In the four districts with spate irrigation, black market prices for inorganic fertiliser are low (35\% of the official rate) and small quantities are sold officially (32 kg ha(-1)). This corresponds to the farmers' saying that there {\textacutedbl}nobody needs inorganic fertiliser since the spate irrigation adds organic and inorganic nutrients yearly{\textacutedbl}. We found similarities to the 'Green Revolution' in Mexico: the forced delivery of high-cost fertiliser, and the reselling at half price in the black market. Inorganic fertilisers are one of the elements that have allowed boosting agricultural production in Ethiopia; our findings indicate however that in the study area, the fertiliser policy needs to be much fine-tuned so that it is led by agronomic needs, rather than by statistics of inorganic fertiliser consumption, that hide complex environmental variability and socio-political relations.},
  author       = {Nyssen, Jan and Biruk, Birhanu and Welemaram, Zbelo Tesfamariam and Frankl, Amaury and Demissie, Biadgilgn and Ghebreyohannes, Tesfaalem and Gebregergs, Hailemariam Meaza and Poesen, Jean and Van Eetvelde, Veerle and Zenebe, Amanuel and Deckers, Jozef and Haile, Mitiku},
  issn         = {0167-8809},
  journal      = {AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS \& ENVIRONMENT},
  keyword      = {SPATIOTEMPORAL RAINFALL VARIABILITY,SOIL FERTILITY,POVERTY TRAPS,STONE BUNDS,HIGHLANDS,CONSERVATION,INNOVATIONS,ADOPTION,EROSION,SYSTEMS,Chemical fertiliser,Spate irrigation,Black market,Integrated soil,fertility management},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {256--268},
  title        = {Geographical determinants of inorganic fertiliser sales and of resale prices in north Ethiopia},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.07.037},
  volume       = {249},
  year         = {2017},
}

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