Economic Evaluation of Different Irrigation Systems for Wheat Production in Rechna Doab, Pakistan

PSSP Working Paper 028 “Economic Evaluation of Different Irrigation Systems for Wheat Production in Rechna Doab, Pakistan” investigates the factors responsible for low water productivity in Pakistan and demonstrates various irrigation techniques farmers could use for its improvement. A comprehensive questionnaire was designed, and 230 farmers were interviewed in a cotton-wheat area, a mixed crop area, and a rice-wheat area in Rechna Doab, Punjab, Pakistan. This survey found that the majority of farmers expressed major concerns about shortages of canal water, energy, and fertilizer. These issues were the main factors affecting their land and water productivity. Field experiments were conducted at the above mentioned sites. The results indicated that drip irrigation was the most efficient irrigation technique. Drip irrigation was 98% efficient, and water savings were 40% better when compared with that under conventional irrigation. The perforated pipe irrigation technique was also relatively better and averaged 77% efficiency with water savings of 18%. Gross margin for the drip irrigation system was found to be higher than for perforated pipe in the same area. And drip irrigation also shows a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 1.69 and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 36%. For perforated pipe irrigation, gross margins were also higher than the conventional irrigation method in the first year of production in all districts. The BCR ranged from 1.88 to 2.39 depending on site conditions, and was found to be profitable at all discount rates in all the districts. The IRRs for perforated pipe were 187%, 277%, and 197% at the three different sites. These findings suggest that flexible irrigation techniques, in response to crop water requirements, can improve land and water productivity.