Does Fertilizer Education Program Increase the Technical Efficiency of Chemical Fertilizer Use? Evidence from Wheat Production in China
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.
This article is published as Wang, Pingping, Wendong Zhang, Minghao Li, and Yijun Han. "Does Fertilizer Education Program Increase the Technical Efficiency of Chemical Fertilizer Use? Evidence from Wheat Production in China." Sustainability 11, no. 2 (2019): 543. doi: 10.3390/su11020543.