Can agricultural aspirations influence preferences for new technologies
This paper (PDF) by IFPRI describes a choice experiment framed around the hypothetical subsidized purchase of a drip irrigation system in Pakistan. Specifically, it examined how participants with different levels of drip experience value various aspects of a hypothetical subsidy for drip irrigation. There is a critical need to improved water-use efficiency. Drip irrigation is a high-efficiency irrigation technology that can improve water-use efficiency. Adaptation of this is low in Pakistan. This study identified a clear increase in the valuation of the drip system by farmers after a few years of drip experience, suggesting that farmers may be unaware of the opportunities for drip irrigation or the benefits that may accrue from its use. Additionally, farmer’s aspirations for cropping systems under drip were better predicators of the valuation of drip systems than current cropping patterns, implying that a different agricultural landscape might reasonably emerge under improved adoptation of drip. Aspirations differed across different agroecological zones and water regimes. Aspirations to substitute wheat crops for fruits and vegetables were associated with a higher appreciation of the subsidy level, whereas aspirations to expand wheat were associated with higher appreciation of the area covered by the drip initiative. These findings imply a degree of control over the extent of wheat production in the landscape via careful design of the drip subsidy program. So, the linkage from aspirations to valuation of drip subsidy programs suggests that the expansion of drip use may have a transformative effect on the agricultural landscape and enhance adoption of these systems.