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Fertilizer Use in Semi-Arid Tropical India

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Jha, D. and Sarin, R.
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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics ; Patancheru 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India
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Fertilizer use in semi-arid tropical India / Jha, D.
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Jha, D., and Sarin, R. 1984. Fertilizer use in semi-arid tropical India. Research Bulletin no.9. Patancheru, A.P. 502 324, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Research over the last decade has shown that fertilizer can increase productivity of most dryland crops in India's semi-arid tropics (SAT). District and farm data were employed to analyze levels and determinants of fertilizer use within and across  regions in this area. Profitability of fertilizer application and assurance of response were the major forces motivating fertilizer use in the Indian SAT. Average fertilizer consumption was 57 kg/ha in the irrigated and 18 kg/ha in the nonirrigated SAT districts. Farmers owning irrigated and dryland plots accorded priority to higher-response crops in allocating their scarce irrigation and cash resources. A majority of farmers used fertilizer on nonirrigated cereal highyielding varieties, and more than 80% of them growing sorghum and pearl millet hybrids under dryland conditions in the major producing districts applied fertilizer to these crops. This suggests that it is unresponsiveness of traditional crop varieties to fertilizer application-not their low value-that inhibits fertilizer adoption. Knowledge, represented by farmers' experience with fertilizer and education, was the most significant determinant in explaining the variation in fertilizer use among farmers within the same region. Relatively few farmers knew about specific fertilizer recommendations for dryland crops. Research and extension efforts are crucial for generating and diffusing more and better-quality information on fertilizer use on dryland crops in India's SAT
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