February 26, 2005

2005: Highlight # 21

Kishore and Mishra discuss the implications of electrification and the rising cost of diesel on water buyers and agrarian dynamism in eastern UP...

Cost of Energy for Irrigation and Agrarian Dynamism in Eastern Uttar Pradesh

Avinash Kishore and Keshari Nandan Mishra

A comparison of water markets and agricultural productivity between villages dominated by electric and diesel pumpsets in eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP) shows that water buyers, most of whom are marginal and submarginal farmers, are hit the hardest by high cost of energy for groundwater pumping.

This paper shows that increasing pump density does not improve the terms of groundwater access for water buyers when the fixed costs are low. Shifting to electricity as source of energy for irrigation will be a better strategy. It will improve the net returns of poor water buyers by 20-25 percent even if no yield gains are realized. Such a shift will have a huge redistributive impact in UP since 57 percent of all food crop cultivators in this state are water buyers.

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