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Policies to support economic and environmental goals at farm and regional scales: Outcomes for rice farmers in Southern India depend on their resource endowment


  • Senthilkumar, K.
  • Lubbers, M.T.M.H.
  • de Ridder, N.
  • Bindraban, P.S.
  • Thiyagarajan, T.M.
  • Giller, K.E.


Improving water use and nitrogen efficiencies is of overall importance to society at large - to conserve scarce water resources and prevent environmental pollution. Efficient cultivation practices for rice which had no yield penalty were not adopted by farmers because of the open access to water free of charge. Well-chosen combinations of policy measures are thus needed to stimulate adoption of new cultivation practices. We developed a multi-objective linear programming (MGLP) model to explore the impact of: (i) modified rice cultivation including water-saving irrigation on farm profit; (ii) water pricing and water quota government policies on adoption of modified rice cultivation by farmers; (iii) a combination of (i) and (ii) to achieve the objectives of both farmers and society at large, and (iv) to study the trade-offs between income, water and nitrogen use. The analysis was carried out on four rice-based farm types for the state of Tamil Nadu, South India. Model results showed that observed farm profit of all four farm types could be increased using current practices simply by optimizing land use for specific crops. Adoption of modified rice cultivation further increased farm profit. Water-saving practices were selected only when water pricing was introduced. Farm profits were reduced even at low water prices but were compensated by farmers through adoption of modified rice cultivation. The combination of policies that stimulate adoption of modified rice cultivation was effective in achieving both increased farm income and water savings. The required water prices differed across farm types and seasons and impacted poor resource-endowed farmers the most. Providing water quotas could protect the poor resource-endowed farmers. The model helped to identify the optimal water price and water quota for each farm type to achieve both the objectives of farmers and society at large. Opportunities for reducing water use and avoiding environmental pollution at acceptable profits are available for all farm types, but need to be tailored to the farmers' resource endowments.

Suggested Citation

  • Senthilkumar, K. & Lubbers, M.T.M.H. & de Ridder, N. & Bindraban, P.S. & Thiyagarajan, T.M. & Giller, K.E., 2011. "Policies to support economic and environmental goals at farm and regional scales: Outcomes for rice farmers in Southern India depend on their resource endowment," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 82-93, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:1:p:82-93

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kropff, M. J. & Bouma, J. & Jones, J. W., 2001. "Systems approaches for the design of sustainable agro-ecosystems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 369-393.
    2. Senthilkumar, K. & Bindraban, P.S. & Thiyagarajan, T.M. & de Ridder, N. & Giller, K.E., 2008. "Modified rice cultivation in Tamil Nadu, India: Yield gains and farmers' (lack of) acceptance," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 82-94, September.
    3. Senthilkumar, K. & Bindraban, P.S. & de Boer, W. & de Ridder, N. & Thiyagarajan, T.M. & Giller, K.E., 2009. "Characterising rice-based farming systems to identify opportunities for adopting water efficient cultivation methods in Tamil Nadu, India," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(12), pages 1851-1860, December.
    4. Hengsdijk, H. & van Ittersum, M. K., 2002. "A goal-oriented approach to identify and engineer land use systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 231-247, March.
    5. Kruseman, Gideon & Bade, Jan, 1998. "Agrarian policies for sustainable land use: bio-economic modelling to assess the effectiveness of policy instruments," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 465-481, November.
    6. van Ittersum, M. K. & Rabbinge, R. & van Latesteijn, H. C., 1998. "Exploratory land use studies and their role in strategic policy making," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 309-330, November.
    7. de Wit, C. T. & van Keulen, H. & Seligman, N. G. & Spharim, I., 1988. "Application of interactive multiple goal programming techniques for analysis and planning of regional agricultural development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 211-230.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prakashan Veettil & Stijn Speelman & Guido Huylenbroeck, 2013. "Estimating the Impact of Water Pricing on Water Use Efficiency in Semi-arid Cropping System: An Application of Probabilistically Constrained Nonparametric Efficiency Analysis," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(1), pages 55-73, January.
    2. Chang, Ching-Ter & Chung, Cheng-Kung & Sheu, Jiuh-Biing & Zhuang, Zheng-Yun & Chen, Huang-Mu, 2014. "The optimal dual-pricing policy of mall parking service," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 223-243.


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