Practices, perceptions, and implications of fertilizer use in East-Central China
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Face-to-face interviews (n = 553) were conducted in five counties in East-Central China to study farmers’ fertilizer application behaviors, decision-making processes, attitudes towards adopting better fertilizer application technologies, and environmental consciousness. The survey results revealed widespread fertilizer misapplication and highly variable application behaviors in the study regions. The lack of scientific knowledge on fertilizers and the absence of guidance from agricultural extension services have forced the farmers to rely on personal judgment and advice from fertilizer dealers and friends to make decisions in fertilizer application. Overall, farmers have been idiosyncratic in fertilizer application with limited adoption of better fertilizer application technologies. There are great potentials for reducing pollutant load from agricultural runoff through promoting scientific fertilizer application in the regions. However, farmers’ diverse preferences over agricultural extension programs necessitate an integrated approach emphasizing farmer involvement throughout the development of such programs for promoting better fertilizer application practices.
KeywordsFertilizer use Farmer behavior Perception Survey Environmental consciousness
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by Chinese Natural Science Foundation (41201191), Chinese Ministry of Education New Faculty Fund (20120071120034), Fudan University Tyndall Center Project (FTC98503B04), and Fudan University Young Faculty Improvement Fund (20520133208).
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