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Efficiency dynamics among onion growers in Maharashtra: a comparative analysis of drip irrigation adopters and non-adopters

Posted on 2024-04-03 - 03:43
Abstract Background Onions are economically and nutritionally important vegetable crops. Despite advances in technology and acreage, Indian onion growers face challenges in realizing their full productivity potential. This study examines the technical efficiency of onion growers, the factors influencing it, and the constraints faced by those adopting drip irrigation in the Ghod river basin of western Maharashtra. A sample of 480 farmers including those practicing drip irrigation and those not practicing it, was selected from Junnar, Shirur, Parner, and Shrigonda blocks of the basin. The primary data was collected through semi-structured interviews. Analytical tools such as the Cobb-Douglas production function (represents technological relationship between multiple inputs and the resulting output), a single-stage stochastic frontier model, the Tobit model, and descriptive statistics were used to assess the technical efficiency of onion production at the farm level. Results According to the maximum likelihood estimates of the stochastic frontier analysis, drip adopters exhibited a mean technical efficiency of 92%, while for non-adopters it was 65%. It indicates that the use of drip irrigation technology is associated with higher technical efficiency. The association of technical efficiency and socio-economic characters of households showed that education, extension contacts, social participation, and use of information sources had a positive influence on technical efficiency, while family size had a negative influence on the drip irrigation adopters. For non-drip adopters, significant positive effects were observed for landholding, extension contact, and information source use. The major constraints faced by drip system adopters included a lack of knowledge about the proper operating techniques for drip systems and the cost of maintenance. Conclusion The differences with inputs associated with two irrigation methods showed that the response of inputs to increase onion yield is greater for farmers who use drip irrigation than for farmers who do not, and are a result of the large differences in the technical efficiencies. These inefficiencies and other limitations following the introduction of drip irrigation, such as lack of knowledge about the proper operations, need to be addressed through tailored training for farmers and further interventions.

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