CCRA-6: Economic and Impact Analysis

Prinicipal Investigators:

Mike Bertelsen
OIRED/Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

George Norton
OIRED/Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech


The economic challenges to CAPS adoption are among the most formidable obstacles that will confront LTRAs and their collaborating host country partners. While the benefits to participating smallholder farmers and their families are short-term time savings (e.g., land preparation, weeding) and longer-term increases in soil fertility, erosion control, etc., that result in greater yields, income and food security, there are also substantial short-term costs of adoption (e.g., applications of herbicides, soil amendments, specialized equipment, risk and uncertainty associated with new, intensified management systems). Additional benefits (e.g., ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, reduced siltation of streams, recharged aquifers) accrue over time to the broader society. However, the CAPS farmers who produce these benefits may not be compensated for their efforts.

The relative importance, magnitude, and distribution of benefits and costs will likely vary widely over the geographical distribution of production systems covered by the LTRAs. However, in order for wide-scale adoption and impact to occur in any region, the fundamental economic research problem remains the same. This CCRA will collaborate with and assist the LTRAs in developing a common baseline and methodology for addressing this general question. Later, as relevant LTRA data become available, plans call for the analysis to be expanded to the higher level landscapes and a more comprehensive economic impact assessment of CAPS. It is expected that the resulting comparative analysis across LTRAs will provide significant insight into general strategies that promote wide-scale adoption of CAPS.

  • Objective 1: Identify the costs and benefits of CAPS in cropping systems/practices and related animal and forestry sub-systems.
  • Objective 2: Identify optimal CAPS and the sequencing of CAPS elements for each cropping system being researched.
  • Objective 3: Identify broader economic and social impacts of wide-scale CAPS adoption.
  • Objective 4: Identify any policy changes required to enhance CAPS adoption in each crop system.