Projection of aggregate and farm benefits of conservation agriculture productions systems using economic surplus analysis and linear programing in Nepal
Traditional agriculture in central mid hills of Nepal is characterized by cultivation of sloping lands, resulting in lower productivity and soil loss. The Sustainable Management of Agro-ecological Resources in Tribal Societies (SMARTS) project applied a participatory agro-ecological research framework to develop improved conservation agriculture practices system (CAPS) to contribute to sustainable livelihood of marginalized tribal farmers. This paper used economic surplus analysis at macro level to analyze the effect of adoption of adoption of different CAPS by farmers on aggregate benefits. The paper also used farm level linear programming model to estimate the revenue maximization allocation of the land for a representative households. The result indicated adoption of CAPS 2 (i.e. maize in first season followed by cowpea cover crop) increased the aggregate economic surplus but adoption of CAPS 3 and CAPS 4 did not increase the economic surplus. At farm level profit maximization model showed, when the soil loss is not considered, adoption of CAPS 1 on all land produced maximum revenue. Under the scenario build with maximum soil loss of 1 ton ha-1 year-1, adoption of CAPS 4 (maize followed by millet+cowpea intercrop with strip tillage) on 61% of land, CAPS 2 on 34% of land and CAPS 3 on 4% (maize followed by millet+cowpea intercrop with conventional tillage) was profit maximizing. Farmers can increase farm revenue and profit by adopting either of the scenarios.