Using multiple objective linear programming and economic surplus analysis to predict the economic impact of CA adoption: A case study in Odisha, India
Roul, Pravat K.
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Conservation agriculture (CA) has proven to be effective at reducing the negative environmental impacts of farming and increasing sustainable agriculture production. For this reason, it is currently being practiced on over 100 million ha of farmland worldwide. However, due in part to uncertainty regarding its full economic, social and environmental benefits, adoption among smallholders in many less developed regions is low. Thus there exists demand for methods that can identify the most appropriate CA practices given farmer needs and climatic constraints, and estimate the economic impact adoption of such practices could have at a city, state or province level. A case study focused on CA adoption in the Indian state of Odisha is presented. Using farmer preference data, trial plot results and a multi-objective linear programming model, this study determines which combination of locally-available CA practices will provide farmers with the optimal balance of profitability, soil quality and labor cost savings. An economic surplus analysis is used to predict the impact adoption would have at the state level. Model results indicate that a production system utilizing reduced tillage with maize and cowpea intercropping in the first growing season and a combination of mustard cover crop and fallow treatments (on 60% and 40% of cultivated area, respectively) in the second growing season will maximize objectives. Adoption of this CA production system would increase profit by 140%, improve soil quality by 34% and reduce labor costs by over 30%. Adoption rates of 1%, 3% and 5% would produce an estimated $19.8 million, $59.8 million and $100.2 million in total economic surplus for the state of Odisha. Results provide incentive for farmers to adopt CA and decision-makers to institute pro-adoption policies.
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