Farm size and fertilizer sustainable use: An empirical study in Jiangsu, China

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Inefficient use of fertilizer has caused serious environmental problems and unsustainable development of agriculture in China. To meet the increasing food demand in the future without damaging the ecological environment, Chinese government officially launched the Action Plan for the Zero Growth of Fertilizer Use in 2015. At the same time, China released a series of policies aiming explicitly at expanding farm size and a great number of large scale farmers emerged recently. However, whether the expansion of farm size will be beneficial for the increase of fertilizer use efficiency still remains to be investigated. In this study, we comprehensively explored the relationship between fertilizer use efficiency and farm size. Based on the 4 281 farm households’ survey data collected by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China from 2004 to 2016 in Jiangsu Province, China, this paper applies a stochastic frontier production function to estimate fertilizer use efficiency across farm size and uses a regression model to analyze the influence of farm size on fertilizer use efficiency. The results show that: (1) the average fertilizer use efficiency of whole samples was only 0.60, much lower than the average technical efficiency, indicating that on average half of the fertilizer utilized are excessive in China; and (2) the smallest farm size group get the highest fertilizer use efficiency score. We also provide some possible explanations for the inverse relationship between farm size and fertilizer use efficiency.




HU, L. xiao, ZHANG, X. heng, & ZHOU, Y. heng. (2019). Farm size and fertilizer sustainable use: An empirical study in Jiangsu, China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(12), 2898–2909.

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