HYV and Fertilizers - Synergy or Substitution. Implications for Policy and Prospects for Agricultural Development

Parikh, K.S. (1980). HYV and Fertilizers - Synergy or Substitution. Implications for Policy and Prospects for Agricultural Development. IIASA Professional Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: PP-80-004

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The conventional wisdom regarding the nature of the yielding varieties (HYV) which have ushered in the "Green Revolution" includes the following beliefs: (1) The HYV's give higher response to fertilizers than the "local" varieties. (2) The HYV's need fertilizer and irrigation for realizing their higher responses. (3) The HYV's respond synergistically to a package of inputs and practices, the most important among the inputs being the three fertilizers--nitrogen, phosphorus and potash--and irrigation.

The policy implications of these beliefs are obvious: (1) It is more efficient to allocate fertilizer to HYV's than to "local" varieties. (2) HYV's should be adopted only when assured water and fertilizers are available. (3) Since inputs act synergistically, it is more efficient to concentrate the developmental efforts in selected areas for promoting intensive agriculture.

It is argued here that the extensive analysis of yield responses to fertilizer that was carried out by Parikh, Srinivasan et al. does not seem to support the conventional wisdom regarding the nature of the HYV technology at least at the low level of inputs used by the Indian farmers and consequently questions the policy implications of that conventional view.

Based on the data from more than 15,000 trials carried out on farmers' fields by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, it is shown that the yield response functions are such that the best HYV for the zone dominates the local variety and gives higher yield even without fertilizer. It is also found that for some cases the yield response to fertilizer of a local variety is higher than the yield response of the HYV. The paper also argues that it is not easy to reject the hypothesis that the data from the simple fertilizer trials are representative of Indian farms.

The paper also presents in an appendix the estimated yield response of the dominant varieties for 8 major crops of India for different agro-climatic zones along with their plots.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Professional Paper)
Research Programs: Food and Agriculture (FAG)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:48
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:10
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/1521

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