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Impact of Zero Tillage in India's Rice-Wheat Systems

Listed author(s):
  • Laxmi, Vijay
  • Erenstein, Olaf
  • Gupta, Raj K.

To date, the most widely adopted resource conserving technology (RCT) in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP)has been zero-tillage (ZT) for wheat after rice, particularly in India. This report reviews and synthesizes the experience with zero tillage in the Indian IGP. Zero tillage of wheat after rice generates significant benefits at the farm level, both in terms of significant yield gains (6–10%, particularly due to timelier planting of wheat) and cost savings (5–10%, particularly tillage savings). These benefits explain the widespread interest of farmers and the rapidity of the diffusion across the Indian IGP, further aided by the wide applicability of this mechanical innovation. The study subsequently reports on the findings of village-level focus-group discussions in Punjab, Haryana and Eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP). These typically corroborate the findings reported in the reviewed literature. They also highlight the significant extent and speed of ZT adoption in each village as well as the attendant substantial cost savings and yield increases. A conservative ex-ante assessment of supply-shift gains alone (excluding other social and environmental gains), shows that the investment in zero tillage/reduced tillage (ZT/RT) research and development by the Rice-Wheat Consortium of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (RWC) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico (CIMMYT) was highly beneficial with a benefit-cost ratio of 39, a net present value (NPV) of US$ 94 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 57%. The study highlights the potential gains from successful technology transfer and adaptation in natural resources management (NRM).

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Paper provided by CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in its series Impact Studies with number 56093.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:ags:cimmis:56093
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  1. Praduman kumar & Anjani kumar & Surabhi Mittal, 2004. "Total Factor Productivity of Crop Sector in the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India: Sustainability issues revisited," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 39(1), pages 169-201, January.
  2. Vincent, David P. & Quirke, Derek, 2002. "Controlling Phalaris Minor in the Indian Rice-Wheat Belt," Impact Assessment Series (IAS) 47696, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
  3. The World Bank,, 2005. "India: Re-Energizing the Agricultural Sector to Sustain Growth and Reduce Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195674323.
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