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Is environmentally-friendly agriculture less profitable for farmers ? evidence on integrated pest management in Bangladesh

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  • Dasgupta, Susmita
  • Meisner, Craig
  • Wheeler, David

Abstract

Concerns about the sustainability of conventional agriculture have prompted widespread introduction of integrated pest management (IPM), an ecologically-based approach to control of harmful insects and weeds. IPM is intended to reduce ecological and health damage from chemical pesticides by using natural parasites and predators to control pest populations. Since chemical pesticides are expensive for poor farmers, IPM offers the prospect of lower production costs and higher profitability. However, adoption of IPM may reduce profitability if it also lowers overall productivity, or induces more intensive use of other production factors. On the other hand, IPM may actually promote more productive farming by encouraging more skillful use of available resources. Data scarcity has hindered a full accounting of IPM's impact on profitability, health, and local ecosystems. Using new survey data, the authors attempt such an accounting for rice farmers in Bangladesh. They compare outcomes for farming with IPM and conventional techniques, using input-use accounting, conventional production functions, and frontier production estimation. All of their results suggest that the productivity of IPM rice farming is not significantly different from the productivity of conventional farming. Since IPM reduces pesticide costs with no countervailing loss in production, it appears to be more profitable than conventional rice farming. The interview results also suggest substantial health and ecological benefits. However, externality problems make it difficult for farmers to adopt IPM individually. Without collective adoption, neighbors'continued reliance on chemicals to kill pests will also kill helpful parasites and predators, as well as exposing IPM farmers and local ecosystems to chemical spillovers from adjoining fields. Successful IPM adoption may therefore depend on institutional support for collective action.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3417.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3417

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Keywords: Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems; Agricultural Research; Water Conservation; Sustainable Land and Crop Management; Environmental Economics&Policies; Crops&Crop Management Systems; Sustainable Land and Crop Management; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems; Agricultural Research; Environmental Economics&Policies;

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References

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  1. Tim Coelli & Sanzidur Rahman & Colin Thirtle, 2002. "Technical, Allocative, Cost and Scale Efficiencies in Bangladesh Rice Cultivation: A Non-parametric Approach," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 607-626.
  2. S Rahman, 2002. "Profit Efficiency Among Bangladeshi Rice Farmers," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0203, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  3. Kodde, David A & Palm, Franz C, 1986. "Wald Criteria for Jointly Testing Equality and Inequality Restriction s," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1243-48, September.
  4. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-32.
  5. Rasul, Golam & Thapa, Gopal B., 2003. "Sustainability Analysis of Ecological and Conventional Agricultural Systems in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1721-1741, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Li, Jie & Gomez, Miguel I. & Rickard, Bradley J. & Skinner, Margaret, 2011. "Factors Influencing Adoption of Integrated Pest Management in Northeast Greenhouse and Nursery Production," Working Papers 126614, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Hazell, Peter B.R., 2009. "The Asian Green Revolution:," IFPRI discussion papers 911, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Li, Jie & Gómez, Miguel I. & Rickard, Bradley J. & Skinner, Margaret, 2013. "Factors Influencing Adoption of Integrated Pest Management in Northeast Greenhouse and Nursery Production," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(2), August.
  4. Gregor Devine & Michael Furlong, 2007. "Insecticide use: Contexts and ecological consequences," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 281-306, September.

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