Adoption of Water-Saving Infrastructure in Agriculture: The Case of Laser Levellers

  • Blog Post Date 31 March, 2013
  • IGC Research on India
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Nathan Larson

University of Virginia

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Sheetal Sekhri

University of Virginia

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Rajinder Sidhu

Punjab Agriculture University

Water tables are falling rapidly, in large part due to the fact that individuals do not bear the social marginal cost of the water they use; free water extraction is a property right attached to land ownership, and the electricity needed to pump water to the surface is highly subsidised. The authors argue that the use of water-saving technologies, in particular, laser levelling is a logical solution to this problem. Their study examined social networks and adoption patterns in a small set of villages, with the goal of forming recommendations about how social networks might be harnessed in a large-scale intervention to promote water-saving technologies. In the pilot survey, over 800 farmers in the districts of Amritsar and Jalandhar in the state of Punjab were interviewed about their perceived benefits and obstacles to adopting laser levelling. The follow-up study comprised five villages with a total of 479 land-owning households. It finds that large farmers are more likely to adopt laser levellers and policies such as subsidies for small farmers and precise information dissemination about returns to adoption for medium to large farmers can also be explored in the future.

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