Sustainable Cotton Production Through Skill Development among Farmers: Evidence from Khairpur District of Sindh, Pakistan
Muhammad Azeem Khan and
Muhammad Iqbal ()
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Muhammad Azeem Khan: Policy Analysis and R&D Component, National IPM Programme, NARC, Islamabad.
The Pakistan Development Review, 2005, vol. 44, issue 4, 695-716
This study on farmers’ training in environment-friendly production practices for cotton crop was conducted in the Khairpur District of Sindh province. Data used in this study comprises baseline and post- IPM Farmer Field School (FFS) impact surveys conducted during 2001 and 2003 respectively. The programme impacts were estimated on gross margins and changes in farmers’ attitude towards environment and biodiversity. The effect of training on social recognition of farmers, their experimentation abilities, and decision-making skills were also examined. Beside single difference comparisons of change in production practices between trained and non-trained farmers, the difference in difference (DD) method was also used for comparisons among FFS farmers, exposed farmers, and unexposed farmers from controlled villages. The stochastic production frontier model incorporating inefficiency effects is also estimated to analyse the impact of farmers’ training (through FFS) on productivity and efficiency at cotton farms in the area under study. The results show that better cotton yield and reduction in the cost of pesticides and fertiliser inputs enabled FFS farmers to fetch significantly higher gross margins (US$ 391/ha) than non-FFS (US$ 151/ha) and Control farms (US$ 25/ha). The total application of pesticide chemicals was largely reduced (44 percent) on FFS farms. The cost of inefficiency at FFS farms was lower (23.71 percent) as compared to those on non-FFS farms (30.50 percent), which implies that FFS farmers were able to maintain a higher level of technical efficiency. It is concluded that the FFS approach is not only cost efficient but also improves farm-level technical efficiency. Information generated through Agro-ecosystem analysis on pest and predator dynamics helps farmers to understand pest-predator interaction to allow nature to work with fewer or most appropriate interventions. A wellplanned technical back-up support mechanism is recommended to be evolved through integrating the research system into farmer-led experimentation. The programme achievements show that the FFS approach in Pakistan has furthered from only crop management to systems management and community
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