What is the intrinsic value of fertilizer? Experimental value elicitation and decomposition in the hill and terai regions of Nepal
January 22, 2020
Patrick S. Ward, Shweta Gupta, Vartika Singh, David L. Ortega, Shriniwas Gautam
Patrick S. Ward, Shweta Gupta, Vartika Singh, David L. Ortega, Shriniwas Gautam. "What is the intrinsic value of fertilizer? Experimental value elicitation and decomposition in the hill and terai regions of Nepal." Food Policy. Volume 90. (2020).
We use Becker-DeGroot-Marshak value elicitation methods to derive the intrinsic value that farmers in Nepal place on fertilizers. Eliciting values under three distinct procurement scenarios, we are able to decompose the total intrinsic value of fertilizer into a willingness-to-pay (WTP) to travel to procure fertilizer, a WTP for assured fertilizer supplies, and a WTP for the productivity benefits of fertilizer. Disaggregating our sample according to location (hills versus terai), we are able to estimate differences in total intrinsic value as well as value components along these geographical dimensions. While farmers in the hills are generally willing to pay more for urea than their counterparts in the terai, the total amount they are willing to pay is, on average, less than the market price for urea. We explore heterogeneity in valuations and discuss the implications of our findings on fertilizer procurement and distribution policies, as well as direct support policies that the Nepal government may consider. While support policies such as subsidies may encourage increased utilization of fertilizers, policies that lower barriers to private sector entry and increase the density of fertilizer retailers could also increase fertilizer utilization.
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