Ten Years of Technological Change in Dry Zone Agriculture


December 4, 2017 - Zaw Min Naing

Zaw Min Naing. 2017. Ten Years of Technological Change in Dry Zone Agriculture. Food Security Policy Myanmar Project Research Highlight 11. East Lansing: Michigan State University

The analysis of changes in agricultural practices over the past ten years reveals several important trends:
1. The agricultural sector is modernizing. Irrigation is expanding gradually and mechanization is occurring rapidly. The use of improved varieties, and agro-chemicals is spreading, and the intensity of fertilizer use per-acre is also increasing. These latter trends in input use are likely to reflect simultaneous improvements in availability of agricultural inputs, and access to agricultural credit.

2. Changes in technology are accompanied by slight shifts in seasonal cropping patterns, with pre-monsoon increasingly gaining ground as the main growing season for ground nut and green gram, likely reflecting increasing access to irrigation from sources other than dams.

3. Yields do not appear to follow a similarly rising pattern. Yields of rice have increased modestly, but yields of green gram and groundnut showed no significant change. Meanwhile, sesame yields were significantly lower in 2017 than 2007. This may reflect poor weather conditions, as sesame is a climate sensitive and hence risky crop. Since irrigation, improved varieties, and commercial inputs can have a role to play in reducing risk, continued increases in the use of modern inputs may help mitigate some of this vulnerability. Nevertheless, the yields reported in the survey suggest that this is outcome is by no means inevitable, and that the profitability of farming may be declining over time.

4. Investment in better adapted, higher yielding key crop varieties and dissemination of improved crop management practices are needed to increase the efficiency of input use, and raise agricultural productivity and profitability.


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