Farmers’ views on the future prospects of aerobic rice culture in Pakistan

M.I. Awan, P.A.J. van Oort, R. Ahmad, L. Bastiaans, H.B. Meinke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In parts of Pakistan, the sustainability of conventional flooded rice systems is threatened by diminishingresources, particularly – land, water, and labour. The adoption of aerobic rice system (ARS), an alterna-tive to the conventional systems, could considerably increase resource-use efficiencies. Information onfarmer perceptions is vital to identify socio-technological factors of adoption. Our aim was to under-stand and analyse farmer perceptions about ARS in regards to future adoption. We conducted our studyin the Pakistani Punjab with three groups of farmers: (I) informant farmers in rice–wheat system whotrialled ARS in a participatory research trial (n = 70), (II) rice farmers in rice–wheat, mixed-cropping andcotton–wheat system with no experience of ARS (n = 97), and (III) non-rice farmers in mixed-croppingand cotton–wheat system (n = 48). Data were collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaireand analysed by using descriptive statistics and chi-square tests. More than half of respondents in groupsII and III had never heard of ARS, though, 76% were open to experimenting. Across three groups, farmersperceived ARS as a means of increasing resource-use efficiency particularly for labour, net profitabil-ity, and an option for crop diversification in the mixed-cropping system. Perceived threats were weeds,diseases, poor germination, spikelet sterility, low yields, and frequent irrigation requirement. Decidingfactors for repeat ARS plantings by group I were: ease of operation due to direct seeding, good income,and low input requirement. Deciding factors against repeat plantings were: unavailability of suitable finegrain basmati varieties, falling water table, weed problem, and unsuitable soil type. The results suggestthat aerobic rice is an interesting alternative to traditional rice production as evident from the willingnessto plant again by 73% group I demonstration households but the unavailability of well-adapted basmativarieties hampers its expansion. Farmers’ appreciation of risks and benefits can pave the way for large-scale adoption. Associated risks can be reduced by filling the identified knowledge or technological gapsthrough additional research and farmer awareness programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-526
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • agricultural technology
  • seeded rice
  • water-use
  • systems
  • irrigation
  • adoption
  • performance
  • growth
  • punjab
  • yield

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