Fertilizer market reforms and factors influencing fertilizer use by small-scale farmers in Bénin uri icon

abstract

  • Bénin, like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has initiated programs to reform agricultural input and output markets. While the impact of the reform programs has been different for each country, it is commonly observed that impact at the farm level has been less than anticipated. A central theme of this paper is to assess the impact of fertilizer market reforms on the fertilizer market structure and fertilizer use for both food and export (cotton) crop production in Bénin. This analysis of farm-level policy impact is based on data from 899 farm households randomly selected and interviewed in all six départements of Bénin in 1998/1999. Results of the study show that there have been only insignificant changes in the fertilizer market structure. Access to fertilizers has not improved; prices for fertilizer have risen in real terms, resulting in application rates lower than that recommended by extension agents. The effects of the reform programs are vital for investment decisions and provide lessons for introducing alternative approaches for improving soil fertility or management. Since 1992, 54% of farmers find maize (Zea mays L.) production more profitable, while 38% reported that cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production has become more profitable. As a result of the mixed effects of the fertilizer market reform program on the level of fertilizer use and profitability, there is need to develop efficient soil fertility management strategies for small-scale farmers. Such strategies should incorporate the use of complementary inputs, such as seeds with a high level of response to the balanced nutrient package.

publication date

  • 2003
  • 2003
  • 2003