Adoption and Impacts of Microirrigation Technologies Empirical Results from Selected Localities of Maharashtra and Gujarat States of India

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"Microirrigation technologies are aggressively promoted in India by the central government, state governments and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), both local and international, by providing different kinds of financial, institutional and technical support systems. These technologies are promoted primarily for one or more of the following reasons: (1) as a means to save water in irrigated agriculture, (2) as a strategy to increase income and reduce poverty, and (3) to enhance the food and nutritional security of rural households. Despite the reported significant economic advantages and the concerted support of the government and NGOs, the current microirrigation area in India remains an insignificant proportion of its potential. Based on the data from recent field studies in Maharashtra and Gujarat, this report analyzes: (1) the economics of alternative microirrigation technologies ranging from low-cost drip and sprinkler systems to the capital-intensive systems, (2) the determinants of adoption of microirrigation technology, (3) the poverty outreach of the different microirrigation systems, and (4) the sustainability implications of microirrigation adoption. In line with the findings of numerous other studies, this study indicates that microirrigation technologies result in a significant productivity improvement and, hence, economic gain over the traditional method of surface irrigation. It also shows that the productivity gain of conventional drip systems is significantly higher than that of low-cost drip systems. Thus, low-cost microirrigation systems cannot be regarded as ends in themselves but as stepping stones for adopting the conventional systems, which are technically robust and economically more rewarding. The most important determinants of microirrigation adoption include access to groundwater, the prevailing cropping pattern, level of education, financial resources, the social stratum of the household, and the wealth or poverty status of the farmer. Contrary to expectations, the majority of the current users of low-cost microirrigation systems belong to the richer section of the farming population. The study also indicates that the impact of microirrigation systems on the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources depends on the magnitude of the overall productivity gain following the shift from surface irrigation to microirrigation, the behavior of the adopters following the shift or the pattern of use of the saved water, and the type and potential number of adopters."



irrigation, modeling, economic reform, crops, water resources, food supply, poverty, women