Socioeconomic barriers of agricultural nitrogen use for sustainable development

Produce more food with less pollution is one of the major global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve such a goal, we need not only technological innovation, but also policy or institutional changes. Here we find that reduce the overuse of nitrogen fertilizers on smallholder farms have to increase their farm sizes to reduce the implementation cost of advanced fertilization technical. Urbanization can increase farm size through releasing more croplands in rural area compared to the lands taken in periphery of urban area. Meanwhile, managing food demand is also important for the sustainable use of agricultural nitrogen.

Overuse of agricultural fertilziers has resulted in enormous damages to environmental quality and human health in many world regions. Reducing the use of agricultural chemicals to an optimal level is a crucial challenge for the sustainable development of agriculture.