Performance of improved practices in farmers’ fields under rainfedand supplemental irrigation systems in a semi-arid area of Pakistan
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In Pakistan, like many of the developing countries, crop yields under dryland agriculture are very low.This field research aimed at investigating improving land and water productivities and farmers’ incomesthrough improved water management, crop intensification and diversification under rainfed and supple-mental irrigation (SI) conditions. With improved packages (e.g. high yielding varieties, appropriate seedrates, time of sowing, and use of fertilizers) an average of 31% higher yields of rainfed wheat (Triticumaestivum) were obtained by farmers compared to their traditional practices. The net income under theimproved package was about Rs. 70,000/ha (1 US$ = Rs. 72), almost double that under farmers’ currentpractices. The highest wheat yield of 5102 kg/ha obtained in small plots was 28% higher than for farmers’current practices; followed by the raised bed yield of 4776 kg/ha. With only 20% extra cost for waterused as SI for small plot sowing with improved practices, there was 47% higher wheat yield and over 60%higher net income obtained compared to farmers’ practices. Similarly, with about 10% additional cost forSI, groundnut (Arachis hypogea) yield and net income increased up to four times compared to farmers’practices. It may be concluded that, in this environment, much of the yield gap between farmers andresearch may be closed by adopting simple and low cost integrated packages.