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Muang Fai’ Irrigation System in Northern Thailand: Farming Productivity and Water Use Efficiency

Arriya Mungsunti ()
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Arriya Mungsunti: Charles Stuart University

No rr2016048, EEPSEA Research Report from Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA)

Abstract: The muang fai irrigation system is a traditional, small-scale, communal irrigation system that has been practiced for centuries in northern Thailand. The value of this traditional system is currently being challenged by modernization, specifically through the introduction of various alternative irrigation technologies, such as the privately-owned underground pump irrigation. This study attempted to determine the various factors that influence farmers’ participation in the muang fai Sop Rong in Chiang Mai province and compared this traditional irrigation system with the underground pump irrigation system by determining which is better in terms of generating economic and environmental benefits. To do this, longan growing farmers, both muang fai system members and those who use underground pumps, were surveyed. The data generated was used to estimate a Logistic model of muang fai participation in an attempt to explain what factors affect the likelihood of a farmer joining the muang fai instead of installing underground pump irrigation. The Propensity Score Matching (PSM) technique was used to estimate the impact of muang fai participation on farm productivity and water use efficiency. Study results suggest that farm characteristics and several social and economic factors influence the possibility of muang fai participation. Results indicate that the farm’s distance to the closest muang fai canal strongly affects farmer participation. The size of the farm is also found to be quite a strong predictor of farmer participation. The relationship is found to be non-linear where probability of participation in muang fai first increases with farm size, but then decreases after a point.

Keywords: Irrigation system; farming; water efficiency; Thailand (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-04, Revised 2016-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-eff, nep-env, nep-pke and nep-sea
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