Cost-benefit analysis of alternative forms of hedgerow intercropping in the Philippine uplands
Nelson, RA and Cramb, RA and Menz, KM and Mamicpic, MA, Cost-benefit analysis of alternative forms of hedgerow intercropping in the Philippine uplands, Agroforestry Systems, 39, (3) pp. 241-262. ISSN 0167-4366 (1998) [Refereed Article]
Considerable resources have been expended promoting hedgerow intercropping with shrub legumes to farmers in the Philippine uplands. Despite the resources committed to research and extension, persistent adoption by farmers has been limited to low cost versions of the technology including natural vegetation and grass strips. In this paper, cost-benefit analysis is used to compare the economic returns from traditional open-field maize farming with returns from intercropping maize between leguminous shrub hedgerows, natural vegetation strips and grass strips. An erosion/productivity model, Soil Changes Under Agroforestry, was used to predict the effect of erosion on maize yields. Key informant surveys with experienced maize farmers were used to derive production budgets for the alternative farming methods. The economic incentives revealed by the cost-benefit analysis help to explain the adoption of maize farming methods in the Philippine uplands. Open-field farming without hedgerows has been by far the most popular method of maize production, often with two or more fields cropped in rotation. There is little persistent adoption of hedgerow intercropping with shrub legumes because sustained maize yields are not realised rapidly enough to compensate farmers for establishment and maintenance costs. Natural vegetation and grass strips are more attractive to farmers because of lower establishment costs, and provide intermediate steps to adoption. Rural finance, commodity pricing and agrarian reform policies influence the incentives for maize farmers in the Philippine uplands to adopt and maintain hedgerow intercropping.