Profitability Analysis of Zero Tillage among Smallholder Farm Households in the Karak Region of Jordan
There is rich literature on the biophysical benefits of zero tillage (ZT) while that on its economic benefits, especially in the context of small and medium-scale farmers, is scanty. Using a combination of Propensity Score Matching (PSM) and Endogenous Switching Regression (ESR) models and a case study from a large project which promoted a number of technologies including zero tillage in the Karak region of Jordan, this study attempts to provide evidence on the profitability of ZT. Model results show that adoption of the zero tillage leads to a gain in net margins of about US$357/ha for the typical adopters. Moreover, if the typical non-adopter farmers were to adopt the ZT technology, they would earn about US$240/ha more than their current net margins. Along with the positive biophysical and environmental benefits of the adoption of ZT, which are well documented in the literature, our results suggest that ZT is a robust technology which can be justified on economic, food security, biophysical and environmental grounds. Therefore, wider adoption of ZT has great potential for transforming the agricultural sector in general and the livelihoods of small and medium mixed crop-livestock producers in the Karak governorate of Jordan and similar areas in the West Asian region. The policy implication of our results is that governments in the developing world should consider embracing ZT as one of the priority cropping technology packages in their national extension programs, and develop policies which overcome limitations for wider adoption.