Estimating Productivity of Bt Cotton and Its Impact on Pesticide Use in Punjab (Pakistan)

Pakistan Economic and Social Review, June 30, 2016 | Go to article overview

Estimating Productivity of Bt Cotton and Its Impact on Pesticide Use in Punjab (Pakistan)


Byline: KHUDA BAKHSH, WAQAR AKRAM, AGHA JAHANZEB AND MUHAMMAD KHAN

Abstract

The present study is designed to determine the impact of Bt cotton seed on pesticide use and cotton productivity in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Cross-sectional data for two cropping seasons of 2008 and 2009 are gathered from three districts of cotton growing region of the province. Modified exponential damage control production function is employed to estimate the effect of Bt cotton seed. Results of the production function show that farmers using Bt cotton seed obtain higher yield as compared to non-users of Bt cotton seed. Fertilizer and irrigation variables are positively related with cotton yield whereas location dummies indicate that cotton growers from Multan district have low productivity as compared to those from Rahim Yar Khan and Mianwali districts. Age, farming experience and farm size are found increasing cotton productivity.

So, the study concludes that in addition to traditional inputs and socioeconomic factors, Bt cotton can fetch higher benefits to cotton growers, provided that farmers have access to quality Bt cotton seed in the market.

Keywords: Bt cotton, Damage control production function, Productivity, Pesticide use

I. INTRODUCTION

Rising cost of cotton production, mainly due to pesticide use to control for cotton pests has induced farmers to adopt Bt cotton seed as Bt cotton seed has resistance against certain cotton bollworms in Pakistan, in addition to other factors. Bollworms are the major cotton pests in Pakistan. Although various options are suggested to control cottons pests, some of them are biological control, mechanical control, integrated pest management and using cotton seed having resistance against cotton pests. All options require certain level of research and development activates and dissemination strategies for wide spread adoptions. However, Bt cotton seed is the most suitable option when quality Bt cotton seed is available in the market. This is one of the reasons that adoption of Bt cotton seed is widely spread compared to other options as farmers allocate above 70 percent area to Bt cotton seed in the Punjab province (Bakhsh, 2013).

In Pakistan, farmers started planting Bt cotton seed at their farms many years ago before formal approval of the Government of Pakistan in 2010. Promotional strategies of private seed companies, results of Bt cotton in the neighboring countries, presence of the seed, etc. were motivational forces for farmers. Literature from the neighboring countries provided evidence of reduced pesticide use and increased yield (Bennett et al., 2006; Kouser and Qaim, 2011; Qaim et al., 2006; Subramanian and Qaim, 2010). The decline in pesticide use decreased cost of cotton production considerably in those countries, in addition to pesticide poisoning cases (Kouser and Qaim, 2011). Small landholders can receive higher income and profit by adopting Bt cotton seed as indicated by Ali and Abdulai (2010), Kathage and Qaim (2012) and Mulwa et al. (2013).

Presently two types of cotton are found at farmers' fields in Pakistani. They include traditional cotton and Bt cotton. Thus the need is to conduct the study in determining benefits of Bt cotton seed. Possible benefits of Bt cotton may include a change in pesticide use, cotton productivity and revenue whereas associated cost is seed cost. Many studies are conducted in Pakistan showing positive impacts of Bt cotton seed (Abedullah et al., 2015; Ali and Abdulai, 2010; Kouser and Qaim, 2013, 2014; Nazli, 2009; Sheikh et al., 2008) while using cross-sectional single year data. Researchers mostly raise questions employing cross-sectional single year data because of variations in weather conditions and insect pest infestation during different years (Bakhsh, 2013). Further, it is difficult to separate the effects of technology from these variations. Using data with a time series dimension is more appropriate to work out benefits of adopting new technology. …

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