Title: Analysing and measuring the economic effects of zero-tillage technology: the case of the rice-wheat cropping system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains

Authors: Shyam Kumar Basnet

Addresses: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O. Box 7013, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden; Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 9A, 106-91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Conventional tillage is the predominant tillage practice in the rice-wheat system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGPs). However, it often delays wheat sowing and reduces yield in instances of late maturity of rice. Zero tillage (ZT) technology facilitates the early sowing of wheat and avoids yield loss due to terminal heat stress. This paper measures the economic impacts of ZT technology on wheat yield and costs of tillage operations and herbicide use in the rice-wheat system. We conducted a farm household survey of 353 farmers in the Karnal and Rupandehi districts of the IGP region. A propensity score matching technique is applied with a specification of non-parametric kernel density function to measure the empirical evidence. The results showed that, although zero tillage does not lead to a promising premium in the wheat yield from early sowing, farmers benefit from the technology thanks to strong cost-saving effects (14.54%-19.73%) on tillage operations. In Karnal, the current level of herbicide use is slightly higher (by 1.06%) in ZT plots, but the lower expenditure in Rupandehi illustrates future prospects for a gradual decline in herbicide use with the uptake of ZT technology.

Keywords: zero tillage; impact assessment; propensity score matching; PSM; non-parametric specification.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2021.119648

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2021 Vol.17 No.1, pp.38 - 62

Accepted: 10 May 2021
Published online: 13 Dec 2021 *

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