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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (11): 3382-3394    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.09.005
Special Issue: 农业经济与管理合辑Agricultural Economics and Management
Agricultural Economics and Management Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Explaining farmers’ reluctance to adopt green manure cover crops planting for sustainable agriculture in Northwest China
Sheng-Han-Erin CHANG1, YI Xiao-yan2, Johannes SAUER1, YIN Chang-bin 2, LI Fu-duo2

Agricultural Production and Resource Economics, Technical University of Munich, Freising 85354, Germany

Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, P.R.China

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绿肥作物具有减少农业生态系统温室气体排放(GHG)的潜力,并提供重要的生态系统服务,契合联合国可持续发展目标(SDGs)。然而,种植绿肥作物并未得到农民广泛认可。例如,在全国范围内,绿肥作物的种植面积占耕地面积比例不足3.5%。本研究旨在解析农民种植绿肥作物低采用率的原因。我们采用Best-Worst Scaling (BWS) 方法,让农民对不同的耕地保护措施进行排序,包括三种类型的绿肥作物种植系统。以中国西北部甘肃省为例,对276名农民进行了调查。研究结果表明,绿肥作物的低采用率有三个因素:1)农民更喜欢改善农田灌溉设施和以有机代替化肥,而不是种植绿肥作物; 2) 对绿肥作物的政策缺乏认识和理解,且获得培训课程的机会有限; 3)政府财政支持和补贴不足。本研究为政策决策者进一步推广绿肥作物提供了参考与建议。

Abstract  Green manure cover crops (GMCCs) planting has a potential for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in agroecosystems and provides important ecosystem services, thereby achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stipulated by the United Nations.  However, the advantages of cultivating GMCCs on arable land are not widely recognized.  For example, in the whole of China, the GMCCs planting area is less than 3.5% of total arable land.  The aim of this study is to explore reasons for the low adoption rate of GMCCs planting.  Using best–worst scaling (BWS) approach, farmers ranked their preferred conservation practices including three types of GMCC cropping systems.  Taking Gansu Province in Northwest China as a case study, a survey with 276 farmers was conducted.  The findings indicated that three factors are related to the low adoption rate of GMCCs: 1) farmers preferred improving farmland irrigation facilities and substituting chemical fertilizers with organic rather than planting GMCCs; 2) lack of awareness and understanding of government policy on GMCCs and limited access to training courses; 3) financial support and subsidies from the government are insufficient.  This study provides insights and strategic implications for policymakers on how to further promote GMCCs in the future.

Keywords:  best–worst scaling       farmers’ preferences       green manure crops       sustainable agriculture       Northwest China  
Received: 17 February 2022   Accepted: 18 July 2022

We are grateful for the support from the National Social Science Fund of China (18ZDA048).

About author:  Sheng-Han-Erin CHANG, E-mail:; Correspondence YI Xiao-yan, Tel: +86-10-82106731, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Sheng-Han-Erin CHANG, YI Xiao-yan, Johannes SAUER, YIN Chang-bin, LI Fu-duo. 2022. Explaining farmers’ reluctance to adopt green manure cover crops planting for sustainable agriculture in Northwest China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(11): 3382-3394.

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