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Pedaling out of Poverty: Social Impact of a Manual Irrigation Technology in South Asia

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dc.contributor.author Shah, Tushaar en_US
dc.contributor.author Alam, M. en_US
dc.contributor.author Dinesh Kumar, M. en_US
dc.contributor.author Nagar, Rashmi K. en_US
dc.contributor.author Singh, Mahendra en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-07-31T15:08:32Z
dc.date.available 2009-07-31T15:08:32Z
dc.date.issued 2000 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-11-11 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-11-11 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3757
dc.description.abstract "This paper offers an assessment of the social impact of treadle pump technology for manual irrigation in eastern India, the Nepal Terai, and Bangladesh, South Asias so-called poverty square. This region where 500 million of the world's poorest people live is underlain by one of the worlds best groundwater resources. Treadle pump technology can be a powerful tool for poverty reduction in this region. It self-selects the poor and it puts to productive use the regions vast surplus family labor. It is claimed that the treadle pump could raise the annual net household income by US$100, on the average. "This report reviews evidence from a variety of studies including our own designed to test these claims, and concludes that: a) Treadle pump technology does self-select the poor, although the first-generation adopters tend to be the less poor. b) It does raise net annual incomes of adopter households by US$50-500, with the modal value in the neighborhood of US$100. It transforms smallholder farming systems in different ways in different sub-regions; in north Bengal and Bangladesh, treadle pump adopters take to cultivation of high-yielding rice in the boro season while elsewhere adopters turn to vegetable cultivation and marketing. c) Treadle pump use results in increased landuse intensity as well as priority cultivation. Adopters use crop-saving irrigation in a large part of their holding but practice highly intensive farming in the priority plot. d) Average crop yields on priority plots tend to be much higher than yields obtained by farmers using diesel pumps or other irrigation devices. e) The income impact of treadle pump technology varies across households and regions, but US$100 per year is a conservative estimate of the average increase in annual net income. Less enterprising adopters achieve fuller employment at an implicit wage rate that is 1.5-2.5 times the market rate. The more enterprising take to intelligent commercial farming and earn substantially more. "For a marginal farmer in this region with US$12-15 to spare, there could hardly be a better investment than a treadle pump, which has a benefit-cost ratio of 5, an internal rate of return of 100 percent, and a payback period of one year. It thus ideally fills the need of the marginal farmers in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin. The challenge lies in its marketing; exceptional ingenuity seems to be required to put the treadle pump in the hands of millions of rural poor. In Bangladesh, where this has become possible, over a million pumps sold so far probably do not account for a large proportion of the irrigated area but have certainly reached a significant proportion of Bangladesh's rural poor. In eastern India and the Nepal Terai, the technology was introduced only in the 1990s and, therefore, total sales have been in the neighborhood of 200,000 against an estimated ultimate potential of 9-10 million. For a significant impact on poverty in the region, treadle pump sales need to quickly cross the 100,000 per year mark in eastern India and the Nepal Terai, possibly by recreating the conditions that led to Bangladeshs 3-year long sales boom during the early 1990s, which very nearly saturated its treadle pump market. If International Development Enterprises (IDE), the NGO that promotes the treadle pump, wants to achieve this feat, it must improve on three aspects of its business strategy: - First, it needs to do serious rethinking on its current strategy of offering only a single highquality, high-price product and consider placing on offer several price-quality combinations; this seems critical, especially in view of the Bangladesh experience, which suggests that the treadle pump demand, especially in regard to first-time buyers, is highly responsive to price and hardly responsive to quality. - Second, IDE needs to review the pros and cons of the tight, IDE-controlled marketing organization it has created in India and explore whether its mission might not be better achieved through a let a hundred flowers bloom approach of stimulating competition in treadle pump manufacture and marketing. - Finally, IDE needs to devise strategic responses to the threat posed to the treadle pump program by subsidy schemes for mechanical pumps and opportunities offered by persistent increases in the prices of fossil fuels and electricity." en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries IWMI Research Report, no. 45 en_US
dc.subject water resources en_US
dc.subject irrigation en_US
dc.subject technology en_US
dc.subject poverty en_US
dc.subject social change en_US
dc.title Pedaling out of Poverty: Social Impact of a Manual Irrigation Technology in South Asia en_US
dc.type Working Paper en_US
dc.publisher.workingpaperseries International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka en_US
dc.coverage.region Middle East & South Asia en_US
dc.subject.sector Agriculture en_US
dc.subject.sector Water Resource & Irrigation en_US

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