ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Mahabub HossainSubscribe to Mahabub Hossain

Is the Productivity Impact of the Green Revolution in Rice Vanishing?

Serious concerns have been raised recently about the long-run sustainability of the productivity effects of green revolution technologies in the light of the decelerating trend in the yield growth of rice since the mid-1980s under the irrigated ecosystem. However, it is also important to recognise that the changes in physical yield are not true measures of productivity from an efficiency perspective. The paper addresses the crucial issue of total factor productivity, which is a true measure of the economic efficiency of any technological impact. Results suggest that various modern technologies (such as modern varieties) adopted by the farmers over the period have continued to make a considerable impact on rice productivity growth - as reflected in the increasing trend of TFP growth. However, the rate of increase in TFP growth has started to decelerate under the irrigated ecosystem during the late GR period. This implies that the "level" of productivity impact of the successive generations of modern technologies has apparently been going down. A plateau or deceleration in TFP growth in the progressive areas is not unusual because TFP levels cannot be expected to increase at the same rate during the late GR period as it was during the early GR period.

Labour Outmigration, Livelihood of Rice Farming Households and Women Left Behind

This is an article based on a case study of labour outmigration of rice farming households in the three districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The paper examines the incidence, patterns and impact of labour outmigration on the livelihood of rice farmers and their women left behind. The authors find that migration has increased women's decision-making capacity predominantly. But at the same time their lack of access to modern seed technology impedes their work.

Partnership in Public Sector Agricultural R&D

This paper broadly explores the hypothesis that scientists working together for a common cause can do wonders in a group, if the system is fairly transparent and institutionalised. As a case study, it assesses the synergetic effects of partnership research in public sector R&D in India, with the all-India coordinated rice improvement programme as an example. The study finds that the partnership mechanism of AICRIP has played an important role through free interstate and inter-institutional movement of improved germplasm, which has accelerated the adoption of modern varieties of rice for cultivation in many parts of India.

Rural Non-Farm Economy

The contribution of non-farm activities to generation of employment and growth of rural incomes in the early stages of development is well recognised in the development literature. For Bangladesh, available official statistics do not allow an analysis of the structure and growth of rural non-farm economy, as the data is not available separately for rural and urban areas. This paper uses data available from two national level sample surveys of rural household to analyse the change in the structure of the rural non-farm economy and its contribution to the growth and distribution of rural incomes in Bangladesh during the 1990s.

Can Hybrid Rice Technology Help Productivity Growth in Asian Tropics?

The 1990s witnessed a significant deceleration in growth of rice productivity. The productivity potential of the existing modern rice varieties is getting exhausted especially under irrigated environments. This raises a serious concern about Asia's ability to sustain its food security in the 21st century. To find solutions to reverse this trend in irrigated systems, and raise yield levels in rain-fed areas, many public sector R and D institutions across Asia have invested huge public resources to explore new frontiers of rice science. However, many farmers, who grew hybrid rice initially, have started dropping out from hybrid rice cultivation. Can the currently available hybrid rice technology sustain productivity growth in the Asian tropics? Why has it not been possible to replicate in the Asian tropics China's success with hybrid rice? The paper provides a synthesis of major findings of a multi-country evaluation of farmers' experiences with the adoption of hybrid rice varieties.

Hybrid Rice in Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh permitted four private seed companies to import seeds of rice hybrids for the 1998-99 boro season to make up the shortage of rice seeds after the floods in the 1998 aman (monsoon season rice) season, since there were no locally bred rice hybrids This paper primarily evaluates the farm-level performance of imported rice hybrids, based on representative sample farmers who grew hybrids during the 1999 boro season. The study findings support the view that hybrids were introduced in Bangladesh without a clear deployment strategy and without scientific evaluation of new rice hybrids under farmers' conditions before importing seeds.

Hybrid Rice Cultivation in the Philippines

The development and promotion of hybrid rice is a strategy being pursued by the government to attain self-sufficiency in rice supplies and improve farmers' welfare. On-farm experiments have shown significant yield advantage of hybrid rice over the best-inbred rice varieties. The government launched a special hybrid rice promotion programme during 1999-2000 and has been providing subsidy on seeds as a special incentive to farmers. The private sector, including a Chinese company is also actively involved in research and seed production. But the adoption of hybrid rice is still at a low level. This paper provides some insights into the constraints to expansion of hybrid rice technology.

Vietnam's Experience with Hybrid Rice

Vietnam is the only country in the humid tropics in Asia where the rate of hybrid rice adoption has been growing. What are the distinct factors responsible for this unique development in hybrid rice R and D in Vietnam - which has similar agro ecological, political, socio-economic and institutional features as China? Would hybrid rice adoption be sustained in the long run in Vietnam? This paper reviews the development of hybrid rice in the country in the context of the development of the overall rice economy. It reports the findings of a sample farm household survey on the profitability of cultivating hybrid rice over the inbred high-yielding varieties.

Income Distribution and Poverty in Irrigated and Rainfed Ecosystems

Myanmar, a socialist country with a distinct political set-up began a nationwide programme to intensify rice production through the expansion of irrigation facilities and use of modern technology in the early 1990s. This paper assesses the impacts of recent government initiatives on income distribution and poverty under two varying ecosystems, irrigated and rainfed, based on an intensive household survey in four villages during 1996. Major findings indicate that the recent government's policy on the promotion of modern rice technology and irrigation did not increase household income due to farmers' inability to cope with the economic and technical demands of the new rice-based technologies. The study also identifies household size, education and higher proportion of female members in the household as major factors that affected poverty. Finally, the paper suggests strategies and policy reforms to help reduce income inequality and poverty in rural Myanmar.

Modern Farm Technology and Infrastructure in Vietnam

Household-level data were generated from eight villages representing different ecologies and states of infrastructure development from both North and South Vietnam to study the issue of poverty and income distribution. Results show that the adoption of modern rice varieties under irrigated conditions substantially increased rice yield and reduced the unit cost of production, but the profit and income effect was insignificant when they are cultivated under rainfed conditions. The concentration of income and the incidence of poverty were lower in the 'developed' villages than in the 'less developed' villages.

Recent Changes in Thailand's Rural Economy

An impressive growth in per capita income in Thailand's economy between 1987 and 1988 occurred mainly due to a dramatic fall in household size and the growing importance of non-rice crops. This article examines the changes in Thailand's rural economy by generating household level data through repeat surveys of six villages. The study finds that income distribution has worsened and although the proportion of poor households has declined, the intensity and severity of poverty has increased.

Rural Income Distribution and Poverty in Bihar

Rural poverty and income distribution were critically analysed based on an intensive survey (1996-97) in eight villages representing all agro-ecological regions of Bihar. Results indicated that income distribution was less unequal in technologically 'developed villages' than in 'less developed villages'. Agriculture and/or rice income was more equally distributed than non-agriculture income. Thus, the diffusion of modern agricultural technology did not affect the distribution of agriculture income but rather reduced inequality of overall income distribution. Further, rural poverty was lower in technologically 'developed villages' than in 'less developed villages'.


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