Adoption of water conservation practices: A socioeconomic analysis of small-scale farmers in Central Chile
The agricultural sector accounts roughly for 63% of total annual water utilization worldwide and in developing countries the figure is much higher, with 90% of water use attributable to agriculture. Irrigation plays a crucial role in agricultural production efficiency, risk reduction, food security, and poverty alleviation. Recently, there has been growing concern over climate change and the associated uncertainty with respect to future water scarcity both globally and locally. Therefore, efficient management of water at the farm level is critical to the future sustainability of worldwide and regional agriculture. The objective of this paper is to determine the factors that contribute to the adoption of a number of water conservation practices by small-scale farmers in Central Chile. A survey conducted between October and December of 2005 was designed and implemented in order to determine the socioeconomic and production characteristics for 319 farmers in 32 watersheds. The number of water conservation practices implemented by farmers was examined using a Poisson count data model, and the types of practices were evaluated using Logit and Multinomial Logit models. The results of the econometric analysis show that social capital, farm size and land use play a key role in the adoption of management practices and in generating greater efficiency in water used for irrigation.
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