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Why some inferior technologies succeed? Examining the diffusion and impacts of rotavator tillage in Nepal Terai


  • Paudel, G.
  • Krishna, V.
  • McDonald, A.


We analyze the effects of rotavator tillage adoption on yield and profitability of wheat in the Nepalese small farm sector, using recent survey data and propensity score matching. Rotavator is a tractor-operated cultivating implement for shallow tillage, which operates by pulverizing soil with the help of rotating L or J -shaped blades. Rotavator tillage has been spreading rapidly in many parts of South Asia, despite having a large body of evidence on its negative consequences on soil quality and crop yield from the experimental research trials. A rigorous assessment of impacts of rotavator adoption on farmers fields has been impending. When we compared the mean yield and profit levels between rotavator adopters and non-adopters using propensity score matching algorithms, we found that the technology adoption clearly leads to inferior outcomes. Due to rotavator adoption, farmers lost about 284 309 kg of wheat grain yield and US$93-101 of profits per hectare on average, and the penalties were more pronounced for large farmers. Adoption of rotavator was driven by the cost-savings (US$11 15; 15 20% per hectare) at the time of land preparation, and the farmers with time and labor constraints adopt the technology. Against this backdrop, we suggest dissemination of zero-tillage as a sustainable alternative. Acknowledgement : This research was conducted as part of Cereal System Initiatives for South Asia (CSISA), Project in Nepal, which was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and conducted at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Nepal. Part of this research was also supported by Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI) in the eastern Gangetic plains project, which was funded by Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, CIMMYT, CSISA, SRFSI or ACIAR.

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  • Paudel, G. & Krishna, V. & McDonald, A., 2018. "Why some inferior technologies succeed? Examining the diffusion and impacts of rotavator tillage in Nepal Terai," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277149, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277149
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277149

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