Resource scarcity gradients and agricultural technologies: Scoping implications in the post-green revolution Indo-Gangetic Plains

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Outlook on Agriculture 41 (2): 87-95, 2012

Erenstein Olaf

The green revolution converted the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) into South Asia’s cereal basket. The recent slowdown in cereal productivity growth and continuing poverty in the IGP pose a major challenge to agricultural research and development. In addressing this challenge, it is useful to revisit the resource scarcities that farmers face across the vast IGP. A scoping study using village surveys in 12 clusters along an agro-ecological gradient in the Indian IGP and secondary data suggest some marked gradients in factor ratios and factor prices. Labour-land factor ratios and price ratios alone, however, can be misleading as they fail to capture the increasingly important role of capital in the post-green revolution setting. Relative to other IGP regions, the green revolution heartland is relatively capital-abundant, explaining the advent of both land-saving and labour-saving technologies in the north-western IGP. Further downstream, the densely populated eastern IGP are particularly capital-scarce. Agricultural innovations emerging from either area are unlikely to be directly adequate for the other, calling for more investment in adaptive agricultural research to develop innovations in line with the prevailing resource scarcities.

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