Can soil conservation practices improve upland farm productivity?


A.C. Rola; A.J.U. Sajise; D.S. Harder; J.M. Alpuerto

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Abstract: Upland corn production using inappropriate techniques often leads to a host of environmental problems which can be partly internalized by farmers whenever it affects their production. Among the most prominent environmental externalities associated with upland corn production is soil erosion. Evidence shows that cultivation techniques such as crop combinations and tillage practices indeed affect the rate of soil erosion. However, there is not much evidence of the inverse – does soil erosion affect agricultural productivity.

This paper posits that soil erosion affects the productivity of upland farms. In the absence of perfect measures of soil erosion, the study focused on the indirect relationship between technology adoption and upland farm productivity. A two stage econometric analysis was made. In the first stage, the probability of adoption of soil conservation measures was estimated. The associated Mill’s ratio obtained from the first stage was then used to correct the second stage stochastic frontier estimation of the determinants of corn yields.

A twelve year data series (1994-2006) from the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (SANREM) project in Bukidnon’s upper Manupali watershed was used for the empirical analysis. The data set contains plot level input-output data and soil conservation practices of farmers as well as data on agricultural economy of the upland village.

Results of the study show that there is a positive and significant relationship between soil conservation technology and corn productivity. Farmers who adopt soil conservation measures have higher yields, in the long term than those not adopting soil conservation practices. The panel data series provides the longer view of the impacts of farm level soil conservation practices on yields which would be difficult to capture otherwise.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Presented at the meeting of the Asian Society of Agricultural Economists, Asian Institute of Management, Makati City, Philippines, 28-30 Aug. 2008

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