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Is increasing inorganic fertilizer use for maize production in SSA a profitable proposition? Evidence from Nigeria

Lenis Liverpool-Tasie, Bolarin T. Omonona, Awa Sanou and Wale O. Ogunleye

Food Policy, 2017, vol. 67, issue C, 41-51

Abstract: Inorganic fertilizer use across Sub-Saharan Africa is generally considered to be low. Yet, the notion that fertilizer use is too low is predicated on the assumption that it is profitable to use rates higher than currently observed. There is, however, limited empirical evidence to support this. Using a nationally representative panel dataset, this paper empirically estimates the profitability of fertilizer use for maize production in Nigeria. We find that fertilizer use in Nigeria is not as low as conventional wisdom suggests. Low marginal physical product and high transportation costs significantly reduce the profitability of fertilizer use. Apart from reduced transportation costs, other constraints such as soil quality, timely access to the product, and availability of complementary inputs such as improved seeds, irrigation and credit, as well as good management practices are also necessary for sustained agricultural productivity improvements.

Date: 2017
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