nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2009‒04‒25
sixteen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Farmers' Preferences for Crop Variety Traits: Lessons for On-Farm Conservation and Technology Adoption By Asrat, Sinafikeh; Yesuf, Mahmud; Carlsson, Fredrik; Wale, Edilegnaw
  2. Evaluating the impact of land tenure and titling on access to credit in Uganda: By Petracco, Carly K.; Pender, John
  3. Setting priorities for public spending for agricultural and rural development in Africa: By Fan, Shenggen; Mogues, Tewodaj; Benin, Sam
  4. Agricultural Policy Environmental EXtender (APEX) Model: An Emerging Tool for Landscape and Watershed Environmental Analyses, The By Philip W. Gassman; Jimmy R. Williams; Xiuying Wang; Ali Saleh; Edward Osei; Larry M. Hauck; R. Cesar Izaurralde; Joan D. Flowers
  5. Genetic Engineering in Indian Agriculture An Introductory Handbook By Kavitha Kuruganti
  6. Integrated Pest Management Portfolios in UK Arable Farming: Results of a Farmer Survey By Bailey, Alastair; Bertaglia, Marco; Fraser, Iain; Sharma, Abhijit; Douarin, Elodie
  7. Biofuels impact on crop and food prices: using an interactive spreadsheet By Scott Baier; Mark Clements; Charles Griffiths; Jane Ihrig
  8. The Impact of Irrigation on Aquatic Wetland Resources - A Case Study of That Luang Marsh, Lao PDR By Phoupet Kyophilapong
  9. When Wetland Conservation Works - an Assessment from Lao PDR By Phoupet Kyophilapong
  10. How does biotech food labelling affect consumers’ purchasing preferences and the market? Evidence from urban China By Zhong, Funing; Chen, Xi
  11. Evaluating the Welfare Effects of Biodiversity on Private Lands: A Choice Modelling Application By Richard Yao; Pamela Kaval
  12. Testing the general validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem: the natural experiment of Japan By Bernhofen, Daniel M.; Brown, John C.
  13. Household Water Collection in Canberra By Anthony Ryan; Clive L Spash; Thomas G Measham
  14. A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Alternative Pig Waste Disposal Methods Used in Thailand By Siriporn Kiratikarnkul
  15. When Does the Price Affect the Taste? Results from a Wine Experiment By Almenberg, Johan; Dreber, Anna
  16. Global Warming and Economic Externalities By Armon Rezai, Duncan K. Foley, and Lance Taylor

  1. By: Asrat, Sinafikeh (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Yesuf, Mahmud (Environment for Development Centers in Ethiopia and Kenya); Carlsson, Fredrik (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Wale, Edilegnaw (Bioversity International, Nairobi, Kenya)
    Abstract: Although in-situ conservation is increasingly considered an efficient way of conserving plant genetic resources, little is known about the incentives and constraints that govern conservation decisions among small farm holders in developing countries. Using a choice experiment approach, we investigate Ethiopian farmers’ crop variety preferences, estimate the mean willingness to pay for each crop variety attribute, and identify household specific and institutional factors that govern the preferences. We find that environmental adaptability and yield stability are important attributes for farmers’ choice of crop varieties. Farmers are willing to forgo some income or output in order to obtain a more stable and environmentally adaptable crop variety. Among other things, household resource endowments (particularly land holdings and livestock assets), years of farming experience, and contact with extension services are the major factors causing household heterogeneity of crop variety preferences. Based on our experimental results, we derive important policy implications for on-farm conservation, breeding priority setting, and improved variety adoption in Ethiopia.<p>
    Keywords: biodiversity; choice experiment; crop variety; random parameter logit
    JEL: Q18 Q51 Q57
    Date: 2009–04–20
  2. By: Petracco, Carly K.; Pender, John
    Abstract: "The theorized impact of land tenure and titling on access to credit has produced mixed results in the empirical literature. Land tenure and titling is hypothesized to increase access to credit because of the enhanced land security provided and the newfound ability to use land as collateral. Using land as collateral and obtaining access to credit are paramount concerns in Uganda and in all of Africa, as greater emphasis is placed on the need to modernize the agricultural system. This paper uses a new approach in evaluating whether land tenure and titling have an impact on access to credit for rural households in Uganda. The new approach includes comparisons across four categories: (1) households who have customary land with versus without a customary certificate, (2) households who have freehold land with versus without a title, (3) households with a title or certificate having freehold versus customary tenure, and (4) households without a title or certificate having freehold versus customary tenure. Each comparison is then evaluated for the impact on access to any form of credit, formal credit, and informal credit. This analysis allows for an in-depth look into which element, tenure or title, is impacting access to credit and to which type of credit, formal or informal. To conduct this analysis, matching techniques are used, including propensity score matching and the Abadie and Imbens matching method. These two methods contain both strengths and weaknesses that allow the results to support to one another. The only significant finding of the matching was a positive impact on access to credit of freehold without title over customary without certificate. Results imply that tenure, not title, impacts credit access for rural households in Uganda." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: Land tenure, Land titling, Rural credit, Land management,
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Fan, Shenggen; Mogues, Tewodaj; Benin, Sam
    Abstract: "Agriculture and rural development must play a central role in stimulating economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving food and nutrition security in Africa. The food price crisis of 2007–08 highlighted the dramatic implications of world neglect of agricultural development over the past two decades. The current global economic recession now underscores the need for urgent attention to measures that could promote agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture in Africa has not performed as well as expected during the past few decades. Agricultural growth rates in the region have increased modestly from about 2.4 percent a year in 1980–89 to 2.7 percent in 1990–99 and 3.3 percent a year since 2000.1 Only a handful of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa—Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and The Gambia—have surpassed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) threshold of 6 percent agricultural growth in recent years. Looking at poverty outcomes, whereas many developing regions, especially Asia and the Pacific, are on track to meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG 1) of halving poverty by 2015, progress in Sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. As a result, Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region of the developing world expected to have more poor people in 2015 than it did in 1990. Public spending is one of the most direct and effective instruments that governments can use to promote agricultural growth and poverty reduction, yet public agricultural spending in Africa has historically been very low compared with that in other developing regions. In recent years many Sub-Saharan African countries have pledged to increase government support to agriculture in order to achieve the goal of 6 percent annual agricultural growth, set by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) through CAADP. As part of the Maputo Declaration of 2003, African heads of state agreed to allocate 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture. Yet many African governments are operating in an environment of scarce public resources, and so far only a few states have met these growth and spending targets. As African governments work to increase agricultural spending and boost agricultural growth, they face a dearth of information about which types of public investments contribute the most to development goals. How should scarce resources be allocated across different sectors of the economy—such as agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education—for maximizing development outcomes? Within agriculture, how should resources be allocated among, for instance, agricultural research, extension, irrigation, and input subsidies? In some cases African countries have clear principles on how to prioritize their scarce public resources, but they often lack the information needed to operationalize these principles. Drawing mainly on case studies from Africa, but also from Asia, this brief provides insights on the contributions of different types of spending to poverty, growth, and welfare outcomes in a variety of circumstances. These circumstances include, for example, Ethiopia's relatively large share of public spending allocated to agriculture, Nigeria's rich natural resource endowments, Ghana's relatively sound governance environment, Uganda's past success in economic growth and poverty reduction, and Tanzania's rapid transition from a planned to a market-driven economy." from Author's text
    Keywords: Agricultural development, Public spending, Rural development, Priority setting,
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Philip W. Gassman (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)); Jimmy R. Williams; Xiuying Wang; Ali Saleh; Edward Osei; Larry M. Hauck; R. Cesar Izaurralde; Joan D. Flowers
    Abstract: The Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was developed by the Blacklands Research and Extension Center in Temple, Texas. APEX is a flexible and dynamic tool that is capable of simulating a wide array of management practices, cropping systems, and other land use across a broad range of agricultural landscapes, including whole farms and small watersheds. The model can be configured for novel land management strategies, such as filter strip impacts on pollutant losses from upslope cropfields, intensive rotational grazing scenarios depicting movement of cows between paddocks, vegetated grassed waterways in combination with filter strip impacts, and land application of manure removal from livestock feedlots or waste storage ponds. A description of the APEX model is provided, including an overview of all the major components in the model. Applications of the model are then reviewed, starting with livestock manure and other management scenarios performed for Livestock and the Environment: A National Pilot Project (NPP), and then continuing with feedlot, pesticide, forestry, buffer strip, conservation practice, and other management or land use scenarios performed at the plot, field, watershed, or regional scale. The application descriptions include a summary of calibration and/or validation results obtained for the different NPP assessments as well as for other APEX simulation studies. Available APEX Geographic Information System–based or Windows-based interfaces are also described, as are forthcoming future improvements and additional research needs for the model.
    Keywords: APEX, best management practices, farm and watershed simulations, soil carbon, water quality.
    Date: 2009–04
  5. By: Kavitha Kuruganti
    Abstract: The handbook is prepared to create an informed public debate on Genetic Engineering in agriculture and this Introductory Manual is a contribution to this debate – a debate not just on GE in agriculture per se but on democratization of science and technology.
    Keywords: agriculture, genetic engineering, GE, gene, revolution, sciences, technology, crops, Proteins, production, BIOTECHNOLOGY, India, scientific, Productivity, nutritious, Food
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Bailey, Alastair; Bertaglia, Marco; Fraser, Iain; Sharma, Abhijit; Douarin, Elodie
    Abstract: BACKGROUND. Farmers are faced with a wide range of pest management (PM) options which can be adopted in isolation or alongside complement or substitute strategies. This paper presents the results of a survey of UK cereal producers focusing on the character and diversity of PM strategies currently used by, or available to, farmers. In addition, the survey asked various questions pertaining to agricultural policy participation, attitude toward environmental issues, sources of PM advice and information and the important characteristics of PM technologies. RESULTS. The results indicate that many farmers do make use of a suite of PM techniques and that their choice of integrated PM (IPM) portfolio appears to be jointly dictated by farm characteristics and Government policy. Results also indicate that portfolio choice does affect the number of subsequent insecticide applications per crop. CONCLUSIONS. These results help to identify the type of IPM portfolios considered adoptable by farmers and highlight the importance of substitution in IPM portfolios. As such, these results will help to direct R&D effort toward the realisation of more sustainable PM approaches and aid the identification of potential portfolio adopters. These findings highlight the opportunity a revised agri-environmental policy design could generate in terms of by enhancing coherent IPM portfolio adoption.
    Keywords: Pest management; pesticide alternatives; technology and portfolio approaches;
    JEL: Q16 Q55 O14
    Date: 2009–04
  7. By: Scott Baier; Mark Clements; Charles Griffiths; Jane Ihrig
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect that biofuels production has had on commodity and global food prices. The innovative contribution of this paper is the interactive spreadsheet that allows the reader to choose the assumptions behind the estimates. By allowing the reader to choose the country, time period, supply and demand elasticities, and the size of indirect effects we explicitly illustrate the sensitivity of the estimated effect of biofuels production on prices. Our best estimates suggest that the increase in biofuels production over the past two years has had a sizeable impact on corn, sugar, barley and soybean prices, but a much smaller impact on global food prices. ; Over the past two years (ending June 2008), we estimate that the increase in worldwide biofuels production pushed up corn, soybean and sugar prices by 27, 21 and 12 percentage points respectively. The countries that account for most of the upward pressure on these prices are the United States and Brazil. Our best estimates suggest that the increase in U.S. biofuels production (ethanol and biodiesel) pushed up corn prices by more than 22 percentage points and soybean prices (soybeans and soybean oil) by more than 15 percentage points, while the increase in EU biofuels production pushed corn and soybean prices up around 3 percentage points. Brazil's increase in sugar-based ethanol production accounts for the entire rise in the price of sugar. ; Although biofuels had a noticeable impact on individual crop prices, they had a much smaller impact on global food prices. Our best estimate suggests that the increase in worldwide biofuels production over the past two years accounts for just over 12 percent of the rise in the IMF's food price index. The increase in U.S. biofuels production accounts for roughly 60 percent of this effect, while Brazil accounts for 14 percent and the EU accounts for 15 percent. The key take-away point is that nearly 90 percent of the rise in global food prices comes from factors other than biofuels.
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Phoupet Kyophilapong (Faculty of Economics and Business Management, National University of Laos)
    Abstract: This study assesses the impact of irrigation on That Luang Marsh (TLM) in Vientiane, the capital city of the People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) of Laos. The study finds that the economic benefits provided by the marsh (particularly in terms of the fish it supplies to local people) far outweigh the benefits provided by the extraction of water for irrigation. As extraction of water for irrigation is threatening the ecology of the marsh and its ability to maintain a viable stock of fish, it is clear that the amount of water extracted for irrigation should be reduced. The report recommends that a minimum level for the water in TLM should be set to ensure the conservation of its precious wetland ecosystem. The report finds that, on balance, this would have a positive impact on the livelihoods of local people. This means that the conservation of the marsh makes good economic sense. To help the farmers who would be negatively affected by these measures, the report shows how they could be trained to use irrigation water more effectively, grow alternative crops that require less water than rice, catch fish and collect vegetables.
    Keywords: wetland, conservation, Lao PDR
    JEL: Q50 Q51 Q56 Q57
    Date: 2009–03
  9. By: Phoupet Kyophilapong (Faculty of Economics and Business Management, National University of Laos)
    Abstract: Wetlands are among the most important habitats for wildlife in the world. However, across Southeast Asia many wetland areas are under threat from water extraction and a range of other development pressures. This study finds that conserving wetlands can provide significant economic benefits.
    Keywords: wetland, conservation, Lao PDR
    JEL: Q51 Q56 Q57
    Date: 2009–03
  10. By: Zhong, Funing; Chen, Xi
    Abstract: This paper examines whether and how biotech labelling has had an impact on Chinese consumers’ vegetable oil purchasing decisions. The authors used sales data from Nanjing and household survey data from Jiangsu province. They found that the market share of biotech oils immediately decreased as a result, though the decrease was small in absolute terms (but statistically significant). In addition, the changes in the biotech oil market share were affected by the structural effect of the rich, while there was no apparent gross consumption effect of the poor, which could have been underestimated due to a series of factors concerning the two datasets applied.
    Keywords: biotech labelling; actual sales data; vegetable oil; market share; China
    JEL: Q13 P46 Q18
    Date: 2009–03
  11. By: Richard Yao (University of Waikato); Pamela Kaval (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Biodiversity loss is a global problem, especially in reference to private lands. In response, we investigated whether private land biodiversity may be attained by developing incentives which include funding landholders through the provision of native trees to enhance biodiversity on their own properties. Using choice modelling, we tested this hypothesis. A typical respondent was found to be better off, in terms of welfare, if there was a biodiversity enhancing scheme in their locality. We also found that respondents in the upper northern regions of New Zealand were relatively more receptive in supporting biodiversity enhancement programmes on their properties, compared to those residing in the southern regions of the country.
    Keywords: native biodiversity; New Zealand; choice modelling; community volunteers
    JEL: Q57 Q2 Q25
    Date: 2009–03–31
  12. By: Bernhofen, Daniel M.; Brown, John C.
    Abstract: We exploit Japan's 19th century opening up to trade to test a general formulation of the Heckscher-Ohlin theorem. This formulation is based on Ohlin's measure of factor scarcity where autarky factor prices impose a refutable prediction on the economy's factor content of trade. Our test combines factor price data in Japan's autarky period with commodity trade data and a technology matrix in Japan's early free trade period. Our technology matrix is derived from a major Japanese survey of agricultural techniques during the early Meiji period, accounts by European visitors and numerous studies by Japanese and western scholars that draw on village records, business accounts and other historical sources. Evaluating Japan's factor content of trade during 1868-1875 at the corresponding autarky factor prices, we fail to reject the Heckscher-Ohlin prediction in each sample year.
    Date: 2009–04
  13. By: Anthony Ryan; Clive L Spash; Thomas G Measham (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)
    Abstract: Policy has traditionally focused on increasing water supply by investing in large scale and centralised projects. The importance of securing water supply necessitates that all options be explored. Research has indicated that demand on water catchments can be substantially decreased when a large proportion of households reuse greywater and/or install rainwater tanks. This paper reports on an internet survey for 354 households in the Australian Capital Territory region. Statistical analyses examined the relationship between socio-economic and psychological variables and the likelihood of the garden being irrigated with greywater and/or rainwater. The results show income, gender, age and education could not differentiate residents who were irrigating their garden with water from a tank from resident who were not. Residents who used tank water on the garden had higher self reported understanding of a range of water supply options. Female participants and lower income residents were more likely to use greywater on their garden. Participants who irrigated the garden with greywater were more likely to judge various water collection and recycling proposals as appropriate. Concerns about water collection and reuse, which have led to some large scale projects being politically unacceptable, were not found to predict the use of tank water or greywater on the garden.
    Keywords: rainwater tank; greywater; economic; psychology
    JEL: Q00 Q2 Q5 R1 R2 R5 H00 H4
    Date: 2009–04
  14. By: Siriporn Kiratikarnkul (Faculty of Economics, Maejo University)
    Abstract: This study looks at the costs and benefits of the main pig waste disposal options used by intensive pig farmers in Thailand. It aims to see which alternatives give the most benefits to farmers and to society as a whole. It also aims to understand why farmers are reluctant to adopt biogas conversion technology, as this approach is being heavily promoted by the government. The study finds that, as it is currently implemented, biogas conversion actually provides fewer benefits than many of the other waste management solutions that are being used. However the report also finds that, if the necessary technical and financial support are extended to help farmers use biogas to produce electricity and sell this to the national grid, then biogas conversion would become a good option. The study recommends that the Thai government should provide technical and financial support to encourage pig farmers to install biogas systems and help them generate electricity and sell it. It highlights the fact that there is a pressing need to support and promote this renewable energy source, which would benefit pig farmers, the environment and the economy in general.
    Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, waste, Thailand
    JEL: Q53
    Date: 2008–12
  15. By: Almenberg, Johan (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Dreber, Anna (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: We designed an experiment that examines how knowledge about the price of a good, and the time at which the information is received, affects how the good is experienced. The good in question was wine, and the price was either high or low. Our results suggest that hosts offering wine to guests can safely reveal the price: much is gained if the wine is expensive, and little is lost if it is cheap. Disclosing the high price before tasting the wine produces considerably higher ratings, although only from women. Disclosing the low price, by contrast, does not result in lower ratings. Our finding indicates that price not only serves to clear markets, it also serves as a marketing tool; it influences expectations that in turn shape a consumer’s experience. In addition, our results suggest that men and women respond differently to attribute information.
    Keywords: Price-Quality Heuristic; Attribute Information; Role of Expectations; Marketing; Blind Tasting; Wine.
    JEL: C91 D83 M31
    Date: 2009–04–19
  16. By: Armon Rezai, Duncan K. Foley, and Lance Taylor (New School for Social Research, New York, NY)
    Keywords: global warming; climate change
    Date: 2009–02

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