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Farmers’ preference of conservation agricultural practices in Kendujhar, Odisha using the analytic hierarchy process
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The tribal villages within the district of Kendujhar, in the state of Odisha, India, suffer from marginal land conditions that are having an increasing impact on agricultural productivity. The majority of the population in this area consists of small-holder, subsistence farmers, who produce crops (mainly mustard and maize) on an average of two hectare sized plot. Research results presented here has been focused on the impact of practising Conservation Agricultural Production Systems (CAPS). Specifically: minimum tillage and intercrop to increase the food security and livelihood in this area. Results from structured socio-economic surveys provided the comparative economic analyses of different CAPS necessary prior to implementation to determine the impact of three integrative CAPS and one control (no CAPS) treatment program. Prioritization of these four CAPS systems was completed using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to quantify farmers’ preference from a pre-determined set of criteria (objectives) to quantify tradeoffs that farmers considered to be important. These objectives were: Profit, Labor Saving, Yield and Soil Environmental Benefits. This study delineates potential implications and provides insight for natural resource managers regarding the short and long-term tradeoffs these smallholder farmers are willing to make with the selected CAPS. It is also intended as a positive catalyst for environmental awareness, agricultural technology transfer, and extension research in developing countries.