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From land reform to pump energisation a shift in agricultural drivers in west bengal


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by Archisman Mitra, Marie-Charlotte Buisson

Stockholm World Water Week
Workshop - Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystem Security
2 September 2014

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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From land reform to pump energisation a shift in agricultural drivers in west bengal

  1. 1. From land reform to pump energisation: a shift in agricultural drivers in West Bengal Archisman Mitra, Marie-Charlotte Buisson Stockholm World Water Week Workshop - Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystem Security 2 September 2014 Uniting agriculture and nature for poverty reduction
  2. 2. Objective  Focus on the post land-reform phase of West Bengal  Literature has started recognizing the importance of the energy-irrigation nexus in eastern India Historically its direct quantitative impact measurement is still missing  Attempt to understand both the quantitative and qualitative impacts in the previous 2 decades using district level-data
  3. 3. Agricultural history of West Bengal Before 1980s • Century long agricultural stagnation in West Bengal • Regressive agrarian structure as culprit From 1980s to mid 1990s • Average annual growth rate of agricultural sector: 5.4% in the 1980s , 4.56% in the 1990s • Land reform • Institutional reform • Green revolution and diffusion of HYV • Access to private irrigation Since 2000s • Average annual growth rate of agricultural sector: 2.2% in the 2000s. • Slow-down in the production of most of the main crops produced in West Bengal (rice, wheat, pulses, sugar cane, jute), with the exception of oil seeds. Fig 1 - Agricultural Net Domestic Product (factor cost) in West Bengal, 1980-2011 (at constant price 1980, 1 crore= 10 million) 3 3 Source : Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics, Govt. of West Bengal
  4. 4. Land reform as driver of growth • “Operation Barga” launched in West Bengal in 1978 • Researchers identify different reasons why “Operation Barga” ushered in Green revolution of 1980s –  Reducing eviction threat of tenants  Increase bargaining power of tenants  Better access to institutional loans • Banerjee, Gertler and Ghatak (2002) “Operation Barga” increased average rice yields by 20%, 1979-1993
  5. 5. Relativizing the impact of land reform • Operation Barga directly affected a very small proportion of the cultivated land  8.2% of net cropped area by 1998 • The 1980s simultaneously saw the Green revolution spreading across West Bengal  Diffusion and adoption of HYV seeds, minikits, fertilizers  Higher irrigation expenditures by Panchayats (local govt.)  Better road connectivity • Bardhan and Mukherjee (2012) show that quantitative impact of land reform is much smaller, when controlled for other policies specially irrigation.
  6. 6. Irrigation situation Fig 2 - Number of pumps for surface and groundwater irrigation in West Bengal (Source: Minor irrigation census, CGWB, GoI)
  7. 7. Diesel vs Electric pumps 1987-88 10.6 1994-95 16.8 2000-01 15.4 2006-07 20.2 Percentage of electrified pumps 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 Rs/litre Price of diesel at current prices (Rs/litre) Price of diesel at constant 2004-05 prices (Rs/litre) Diesel prices in West Bengal from 1973 to 2009 Source : Minor irrigation census & WBSEDCL Source : IWMI • Electric pumps essential for boro cultivation 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 Rs/litre  Rising diesel prices, by almost 450% from 1994 to 2006  High and flat tariff rate for electric pumps (before 2007)  Incentive for electric Pump owners to sell water – Mukherjee (2007) estimates that electric pumps irrigated almost thrice the area irrigated by boro
  8. 8. Data Panel data created from different sources : Statistical Handbook , West Bengal (different years) Economic Review , West Bengal (different years) Annual report of WBSEDCL Online resources – ICRISAT VDSA database, Indiastat website Panel consists of : 13 Districts (Excluding Puruliya and Darjeeling) 13 years (1994 -2006) BAES, Government of West Bengal
  9. 9. Methodology 푙푛푌푑푡 = 훼푑 + 휑푡 + 훽1. 푙푛퐸푃푑푡 + 훽2. 푙푛푏푎푟푔푎푑푡−1 + 훽3. 푋푑푡 + 휀푑푡 Cumulative number of electrified pumps (in district d for year t, in log) Cumulative number of sharecroppers registered under Operation Barga (in district d for year t-1, in log) Other time-varying variables: Fertilizer use Rainfall Canal access Road-access Prices of rice Diesel price  Boro Area  Boro Yield  Rice Yield  We consider cluster – robust standard errors to ensure that we do not get false positives due to multi-collinearity
  10. 10. Result Effect of Pump Electrification on Agricultural variables in West Bengal, 1994-2006 log (boro area) log (boro area) log (boro yield) log (boro yield) log (rice yield) log (rice yield) log(Share cropper registration (lagged)) 1.286 (0.179) 0.723 (0.403) 0.589 (0.268) 0.647 (0.236) -0.0244 (0.96) -0.00279 (0.996) log(Cumulative no. of electrified pumps) 1.615*** (0.000) 1.656*** (0.000) -0.0435 (0.672) -0.00821 (0.964) 0.146** (0.007) 0.222* (0.015) Controls No Yes No Yes No Yes Sample size 169 157 169 157 169 141 Significant and positive effect of pump electrification can be found on area of boro cultivated and rice yield Impact on yield of boro is not significant however. Moreover we could not find any significant impact of Barga registration rate on our agricultural variables
  11. 11. Explanation • The insignificant result on boro yield and significant and positive effect on area implies that pump electrification brought more area under boro cultivation previously which remained fallow – Hence yield remained same or slightly worsened Our estimates show pump electrification (increasing by 18.5% during 1994-2006) caused boro area to rise by 30.6%. • No effect of land reform – District dummy captures it all • Positive and significant effect on rice yield shows how pump electrification and an efficient water market ensures steady water supply and improves yield
  12. 12. Groundwater situation • 40.1% stage of groundwater development in 2009, 50.9% in 2000 • 38 semi-critical blocks in 2009 • 53 critical blocks and 26 semi-critical blocks in 2000 • Decline of the number of tube wells in the 2000s (Minor Irrigation Census) Uniting agriculture and nature for poverty reduction Fig 4 – Classification of groundwater development, 2009 12 5 Source : IWMI-Tata Water Policy Research Highlight, 36.
  13. 13. Conclusion • Easy access to Groundwater irrigation is essential to bring about a second Green Revolution in West Bengal • Recent policy change saw number of Electric connections for irrigation to double in just 5 years • Ongoing research point out to many shortcomings hidden by the official data on connections • Need to be careful about its impact on groundwater – more research needed